A businesswoman in the midlands has spoken of the sophisticated scam which nearly cost her the contents of her business’s bank account in the hope “it will save others from the same thing”.

Pat Murphy, the co-owner of a stove dealership in Co Longford, paid tribute to the anti-fraud gardaí which she dealt with, but said the assistance of her bank left a lot to be desired.

She told her story to the Irish Examiner amid news that fraud rates have risen exponentially in Ireland over the past 12 months of the pandemic.

In late September the CSO announced that fraud incidents had risen by 40% in the 12 months to end June 2021.

Most of those incidents related to attempts to obtain personal or banking information from people by phone, perhaps unsurprising given the explosion in automated phone dialler scams which affected much of the population in the early months of the summer.

Plausible payment scam

For Pat however, the scam encountered was a great deal more plausible.

“It was last Monday and we got a call from someone claiming to be with TNT, a courier company that we have a lot of dealings with,” she says. “It was a girl with an English accent, calling from an 0044 (UK) number, asking us to settle a small amount of underpayment on import charges, saying once that was clear she could guarantee delivery the next morning.” 

“We run a business where we get parcels in every day, we import from Italy and the UK and we’ve already had issues with imports over Brexit over…

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