The Mayo Garda Division is now part of a new national pilot anti-fraud initiative that launched this week.
Two areas in the country are being piloted, the Mayo Garda Division and the Limerick City Division.
Garda Superintendent Joe McKenna told a recent county Joint Policing Committee that the scheme is called Banking Protocol and it’s an initiative between the two Garda divisions and the Banking Payments Federation of Ireland.
The purpose of the protocol is to identify vulnerable individuals in society who may have been under pressure or tricked into withdrawing or transferring funds by a fraudster.
“The initiative will attempt to disrupt or prevent this type of fraud and it will lead to a more proactive approach from ourselves as Gardai together with bank officials, leading to a greater likelihood of arresting fraudsters,” Supt McKenna explained.
The project will involve specialised training for bank staff and gardaí and will help to detect and reduce fraud.
Supt McKenna said he understands why the elderly might be afraid to answer phone calls. “I would always encourage the elderly to have a caller ID on their lines and any number that is withheld I would be very wary of answering any call,” he added. Supt McKenna encouraged people to “hang up” if they answer a call and suspect it is a fraudster on the line.
Westport based Independent councillor Christy Hyland had raised concerns earlier at the JPC meeting saying “elderly people are terrified to even answer the phone due to the prevalence of scam callers. People are afraid to answer their phones with the scamming that is going on”.
The councillor encouraged gardaí to provide more information to the public about how to deal with scam calls and emails