Gardaí have issued a warning to the public over an increase in fraud cases in Ireland.
An Garda Síochána has revealed there has been a 77% increase in reports of investment fraud this year alone.
According to a statement by the Gardaí, “Investment fraud is where criminals pose as investment managers to fool someone into investing money in schemes and projects that do not exist”.
“During a period of high cost of living, these sophisticated criminals are taking advantage by cloning webpages and targeting victims through online and social media adverts by promising ‘once in a lifetime opportunities’ to instantly invest with fast and large financial returns”.
Advice to the public is to ‘pay particular close attention when considering any potential investments’ due to the high rise in investment fraud.
By this time last year, €11M had been stolen from unfortunate victims of investment fraud around the country. This has now already increased to €18.6 million at this stage of 2023.
Research from the Gardaí found that almost 70% of victims of investment fraud are aged over 40, with 65% of victims being male, and 35% being female.
The average amount that has been stolen from victims so far this year is a shocking €33,431.
Speaking at this morning’s briefing, Detective Superintendent Michael Cryan of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau said, “People are always going to be attracted to promises of big profits. That is why these sophisticated, fraudulent investments are on the rise, worldwide, not just in Ireland. 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”.
The Detective Superintendent added, “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”.
There are many ways to avoid investment fraud including, never sharing personal information and passwords with anyone, always get reliable financial and legal advice, be wary of fake wallets for storing your cryptocurrency, and ignore unsolicited approaches about investments.