Fraudsters stole nearly €45 million through frauds and scams in the second half of 2021

That’s according to a new report published today by FraudSMART.

FRAUDSTERS STOLE NEARLY €45 million through frauds and scams in the second half of 2021, up 37% on the previous year.

That’s according to a new report published today by FraudSMART, the fraud awareness initiative led by Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI).

It shows fraudsters stole nearly €45 million through frauds and scams in the second half of 2021, a jump of 37% on the same period in 2020.

The report outlines how debit and credit card fraud (including ATM) hit €14.5 million, up 18.5%, the highest levels since the first half of 2017.

Most of the increase was driven by online card fraud or ‘card not present’ where a fraudster uses the victims compromised card information to make an online purhase.

However, last year also saw payment card fraud at ‘point of sale’ or in-store return to pre-Covid levels as most retail outlets reopened with the lifting of most public health restrictions.

The report also highlights the soaring value of unauthorised electronic payment (credit transfer and direct debit) fraud which at €21.5 million reflects a sharp increase in online and mobile banking fraud.

This type of fraud happens when a payment is made by another person without the account holder’s authorisation or permission and usually results from the loss, theft or misappropriation of sensitive payment data (such as account numbers and PINs).

The report shows how consumers were scammed out of €7.6 million through authorised push payments, down 4.4% year-on-year.

This type of fraud takes place when a victim is duped into transferring money from their account to a fraudsters account such as through romance or investment scams.

Warning ahead of Black Friday

As Black Friday approaches and the pre-Christmas rush gets underway, FraudSMART has today issued an appeal to consumers to be extra vigilant and inform themselves of the simple steps they can take to prevent falling victim to fraud.

“Today’s fraud figures are a stark reminder that consumers need to be on high alert during what is the busiest online shopping period of the year,” Niamh Davenport, head of financial crime at BPFI, said:

“We know that fraudsters are continuously updating and adapting their tactics and tools. As well as scam texts, phone calls and emails, scammers have developed a range of techniques to convince online users to disclose key personal or financial information,” Davenport said. 

“While banks are using a range of measures such as encryption and continuous fraud monitoring to protect their customers and ensure every day payments can be made securely, fraudsters are increasingly targeting businesses and consumers directly, so it is important for us all to know how to protect ourselves.”

With a jump of almost 46% in debit card fraud losses alone, Davenport said FraudSMART is “calling on all consumers to pause for thought before parting with their money or information and familiarise themselves with some of the very straight forward steps they can take to protect themselves”.

FraudSMART has provided some tips for shopping safely online: 

  • Use sites where a padlock symbol is shown beside the website address.
  • Do not under any circumstances use public wi-fi when making payments – switch to 3G/4G on your phone if necessary.
  • Independently visit the website of the online sales company as opposed to clicking on social media or pop-up adverts.
  • Be cautious about claiming outrageous offers – if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
  • Stick to well-known websites or websites that you are familiar with, or websites associated with high street retail outlets.

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