Internet scammers got more than they bargained for when they called a garda station instead of an unwitting member of the public.

An officer picked up the phone when it rang at Thomastown Garda Station, in Co Kilkenny on Friday as he thought he was about to help a member of the public.

The suspicious call was received at the busy garda station from a number originating from caller identity 000644246###.

According to a Garda statement: “The caller stated that he was ringing on behalf of ‘eir’ (telephone and broadband provider) and that a problem had been encountered in the recent past with an internet router in the locality.

“The caller wished to fix this issue but of course needed for the customer to log onto the ‘Google’ browser and open up a signal strength website and consent to handing over remote access to the caller in order to remedy the issue.

“The caller, was a short time later informed, that he had contacted a Garda Station and strangely enough the call was disconnected! This is a scam. Do not engage. eir have being notified and are aware.”

Gardai from the Carlow/ Kilkenny division also posted messages warning the public of the scam.

Hundreds of people reacted to the post with one person saying, “It’s great to see the Garda in question got first hand knowledge of this incident.

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“Unfortunately people more vulnerable will give these scammed what they want.”

eir have warned the public what to look out for if they receive similar phone calls.“Phishing phone calls tend to impersonate company personnel or employees. The calls will often come from an Irish phone number in an attempt to look more genuine.

“The calling number is often spoofed, meaning it is not the actual number from which the call is originating.

“Some customers have reported receiving fraudulent calls from individuals claiming to be a representative of eir calling in relation to an issue/compromise of their broadband service. The caller may state that in order to fix the issue they need access to your PC/Laptop/device.

“The caller may put pressure on you to provide credit card details in order to repair or upgrade the security of the device. If your have received a phone call such as this and are concerned about your security, contact your bank immediately for information on what do next.

“eir will never require access to your computer or your credit/debit card details in relation to a fault/repair.”

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