More than 300,000 have applied for the payments so far.

People who have applied for the new Covid-19 Unemployment Payment are being targeted by fraudsters posing as Department of Social Protection officials, it has emerged.

More than 300 thousand people have applied for the scheme since it was launched two weeks ago, with around 283 thousand people receiving their first payment today.

However the Banking and Payments Federation believes there will be significant attempts to swindle people out of money in Covid-19 related scams over the coming weeks.

Federation representative Brian Hayes is warning the public to be vigilant.

”People have to be really ultra cautious about giving out information right now,” he said.

”Never respond to anonymous emails or texts looking to get that information”.