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Fraud crime in Ireland surged by 114% in the last three months of 2021

Gardaí are urging people to be careful with their personal information.

FRAUD CRIME IN Ireland increased by 116% in the last quarter as gardaí continued to warn the public to watch out for con artists. 

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) data show how fraud crime, largely driven by unauthorised transactions and attempts to obtain personal or banking information online or by phone, more than doubled to 16,929 by the end of 2021.

Businesses are particularly vulnerable to these offences.

Gardaí, as part of their national fraud awareness week, are asking company owners to be very wary of sending payments online, especially when asked to send money to “new bank account numbers”.

Detective Chief Superintendent Pat Lordan of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau said: “Unfortunately, no business is immune to this type of scam – the victims of business email compromise fraud range from very small businesses to large corporations.

“The consequences of falling for a scam such as this can be catastrophic and may even result in the closure of businesses and redundancies. All employees should be aware of this fraud and receive training to avoid this type of scam. If in any doubt, delay the transfer and report any suspected fraud to Gardaí as soon as possible – early reporting can be the difference between recovering most of the funds versus very little.”

Gardaí are advising members of the public who believe they are a victim of business email compromise fraud to contact any Garda Station and report the crime.

Other offences 

Other offences logged by the CSO include: 

  • Kidnapping & related offences were up 27.1% while sexual offences also increased (+12.0%)

  • Homicide and related offences fell by 50% as did Burglary & related offences (-21.1%), Weapons & explosives offences (-18.5%) and Controlled drug offences (-13.1%)

  • A total of 308 offences were recorded on An Garda Síochána’s PULSE database for breaches of Covid-19 regulations in Q4 2021

Commenting on the stats, Jim Dalton, statistician at the CSO, said: “Recorded Crime statistics for the year ending in December 2021 showed that the number of fraud incidents recorded on An Garda Síochána (AGS)’s PULSE database continued to rise and reached a new level.

“There were 16,929 frauds recorded in the 12-month period compared to just 7,834 in the previous year, an increase of 116.1%. The increase was largely driven by unauthorised transactions and attempts to obtain personal or banking information online or by phone.”

Recorded crime for 2021 was generally down on 2020 levels. Burglary & related offences fell by more than a fifth while weapons and explosives were down by 18.5% and controlled drug offences decreased by 13.1%.

However, there was an increase of 12% in the number of crimes classified as sexual offences. 

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