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72% increase in fraud crimes this year driven by attempts to obtain personal information

Sexual offences rose this year by 10%, while other crimes such as burglary, theft and robbery decreased.

Image: Alamy Stock Photo

THE CSO HAS recorded a 72% increase in fraud crimes this year driven by criminals’ attempts to obtain people’s personal information.

In the 12-month period ending in September 2021, fraud crimes were 72% higher than the previous year, which was mostly driven by unauthorised transactions and attempts to obtain personal or banking information online or over the phone.

Sexual offences also rose this year by 10%, while other crimes such as burglary, theft and robbery decreased.

The information recorded in the CSO Recorded Crime statistics shows that more than 13,500 instances of fraud were recorded over the year compared to less than 8,000 in the preceding 12 months.

CSO Statistician Sam Scriven said the statistics “show a continued rise in the number of fraud incidents recorded on An Garda Síochána (AGS)’s PULSE database”.

“The increase is largely driven by unauthorised transactions and attempts to obtain personal or banking information online or by phone,” Scriven said.

Additionally, there was a 10% increase in the number of crimes classified as sexual offences.

The number of crimes recorded in most other categories fell, including burglary (a 36% decrease), theft (20%) and robbery (18%).

“Users should note when considering crime trends the varying Covid-19 restrictions in place for much of 2020 and 2021 and the likely impact of such restrictions on levels of crime,” Scriven said.

He said that the cancellation of calls on the garda dispatch system may mean that some records of crimes were not created and are missing from the statistics as a result.

“An internal AGS investigation into the inappropriate cancellation of calls on its Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system is ongoing,” Scriven said.

“The premature or improper cancellation of calls on the CAD system may mean that records relating to crimes, which were reported to AGS, were not created on the PULSE system, and are therefore not counted in Recorded Crime statistics,” he said.

The CSO is awaiting clarification on the full impact of the issue from AGS, including the time periods involved (how far back this issue goes), the crime types impacted, and crucially, the estimated numbers of crimes which were not recorded on PULSE due to inappropriate cancellation of CAD calls, before it can determine the impact on Recorded Crime statistics.”

Between July and September,  516 offences were recorded for breaches of Covid-19 regulations.

“This figure was significantly lower than in previous quarters, reflecting the relatively low level of COVID-19 restrictions compared to earlier quarters,” Scriven said.

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In July, polling by Red C for The Journal found that the vast majority of people in Ireland had received a scam call from an Irish number in the previous month.

73% of people polled said they received a scam call from a 083/085/086/087/089 number, while half had been called in the previous week.

Only 11% said they have never received a scam call from an Irish number.

Gardaí advise people who are called by a scammer to hang up, not to engage with the caller and not to return the call.

People should not follow any automated instructions, transfer any money or disclose any personal or financial information.

About the author:

Lauren Boland

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