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Central Bank warns people to be wary of firms offering quick loans over the Christmas period

There has been a surge in the prevalence of unauthorised moneylenders.

Image: Shutterstock/fizkes

THE CENTRAL BANK of Ireland has urged consumers to be wary of firms offering quick and easy loans over the festive period.

There has been a surge in the number of unauthorised credit firms operating in Ireland and the Central Bank continues to remind the public to think twice before committing any personal information to firms online. 

Many of the unauthorised firms may appear, at first, to be legitimate and have seemingly impressive and official websites. However, many of them are involved with scams or money laundering activities. 

A list of unauthorised firms the Central Bank has issued warnings about is available on the regulator’s website.

Tips

According to the Central Bank, consumers should check the Central Bank register online to find out if a firm/person they are dealing with is authorised. The public should also be wary of advertisements offering loans from unauthorised firms or persons.

Other tips include:

  • If you wish to obtain a financial product such as a loan, insurance, investment or pension, or if you wish to obtain a financial service such as investment advice, you should only deal with a Central Bank authorised firm/person – check the Central Bank’s Register to see if the firm/person is authorised. 
  • Always double-check the URL and contact details of a firm/person in case it is a ‘clone firm/person’ pretending to be an authorised firm/person, such as your bank or a genuine investment firm.
  • Check the list of unauthorised firms.  If the firm/person is not on our list, do not assume it is legitimate – it may not have been reported to the Central Bank yet.

For further information, you can visit the Avoiding Scams and Unauthorised Activity section of the Central Bank’s website. 

What to do if you think you have been scammed 

The Central Bank says the first thing you should do if you think you have been scammed is to stop sending money immediately. 

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The next step is to report it to your bank, to the Central Bank and then to gardaí to discuss all the options available to you. 

According to the Central Bank, if you have been a victim of a scam or fraud, you are likely to be targeted again. This could be weeks or years after the original scam or fraud took place.

A spokesperson said: “Often you may be offered what seems like a chance of recovering the money you lost on the original scam or fraud. This could take many forms but will usually involve sending some sort of fee in order to recover your money.

Some examples include, a supposed tax, government administration fee, re-bonding fee etc. The scam or fraud operators will often pose as fictitious government agencies, issuing you with fraudulent papers regarding legal action, non-disclosure agreements, copies of share certificates etc. Be advised these documents can look official and genuine.

The Central Bank warned that it is highly unlikely you will ever recover your money from the original scam or fraud and this will usually be an attempt by the initial fraudsters to extract even more money from their original victims.  

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