The public has been urged not to respond or engage with scam texts, phonecalls or emails seeking personal information, following a recent rise in fraud cases.

The Minister for Justice today said that no government department will ever contact members of the public seeking their PPS numbers or bank details and said that the message for people receiving such messages is “ignore, ignore, ignore”.

Heather Humphreys was speaking at the launch of a new campaign to raise awareness of cyber crime.

The campaign, which will be run by the Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau and the Department of Justice, will see gardaí engage with communities in a series of events nationwide to provide information on how to protect yourself from these scams.

Data from the CSO crime statistics for this year show a 40% increase in fraud offences in the year to June 2021, compared to the previous year.

The increase mostly occurred in the first six months of this year and primarily relate to fraudulent attempts to obtain personal or banking information online or by phone.

Older people and businesses in particular are being targeted in this initial phase of this awareness campaign.

Speaking at the launch of the campaign, Minister Humphreys said that all of us have received these “strange phonecalls and text messages” in recent months.

Heather Humphreys launched the new campaign this morning

She said they can be sophisticated and it can be easy to be scammed out of significant amounts of money.

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