On average, victims have had €33,431 stolen from them through investment fraud. SHUTTERSTOCK
investment fraud

Gardaí warn public to be extra vigilant of fraud when considering investments

There has been a 77% increase in reports of investment fraud this year.

GARDAÍ HAVE WARNED the public to be “extra vigilant” when considering potential a investment after a 77% rise in the number of reports of investment fraud this year.

By the end of the third quarter of this year, €18.6 million has been stolen through investment frauds, compared to €11 million during the same period this year.

On average, victims have had €33,431 stolen from them through investment fraud schemes, with the majority of victims in Ireland aged over 40.

Gardaí say criminals are “taking advantage” of the public during a period of high cost of living by cloning webpages and targeting victims through online and social media adverts.

Many of these adverts promise ‘once in a lifetime opportunities’ to instantly invest with fast and large financial returns.

Michael Cryan, the Gardaí’s leading detective in the Garda Economic Crime Bureau, said: “The victims in most investment frauds are ordinary people who lose their life savings and retirement nest eggs.

“Between 2021 and 2022, over €25 million was stolen through investment fraud from ordinary people all over Ireland.

“Be wary where the return being offered sounds too good to be true or where there is a degree of urgency or you are being offered a once in a lifetime opportunity,” he added.

An Garda Síochána have warned the public not invest until they’ve recieved reliable financial and legal advice or have checked the regulatory status of the company via the Central Bank of Ireland webpage.

Potential victims are asked not respond to pop-up or social media ads or messages with claims about investment returns and to ignore unsolicited approaches or cold calls about investments

Additionally, gardaí are advising the public to be aware of celebrity-endorsed investments – as they may not even know that their name is being used.

Evidence of this was recently seen when fake RTÉ posts about former news presenter Anne Doyle were attempting to hoax victims in order to promote a cryptocurrency scheme. The Journal’s Fact Check debunked these adverts.

For those who do hold cryptocurrencies, gardaí advise holders to be wary of fake wallets for storing the assets as they can be scams for malware to infect or control your computer.

Gardaí have also reminded the public of basic internet safety by not clicking on suspicious links, especially those which do not have HTTPS security, never allowing anyone gain remote access to your computer and to never disclose personal data or bank account passwords or codes.

Cryan said: “Always seek professional advice when investing whether in cryptocurrency or any kind of investment product.

“Check the Central Bank website and ensure the company you are dealing with is regulated and that it is not a cloned website you are on,” he added.