Gardai issue warning on investment fraud

An Garda Síochána is advising the public to pay particular close attention when considering any potential investments given the sustained rise in investment fraud.

By the end of Q3, 2022 €11 million had been stolen from victims of investment fraud in Ireland. This has now increased to €18.6 million by Q3 this year.

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.

How to avoid investment fraud?

Do not invest until you get reliable financial and legal advice
Check the regulatory status of the company via the Central Bank of Ireland webpage
Do not respond to pop-up/social media ads or messages with claims about investment returns
Ignore unsolicited approaches or cold calls about investments
Beware of celebrity-endorsed investments – they may not even know that their name is being used
Be wary of fake wallets for storing your cryptocurrency – these can be scams for malware to infect or control your computer
Do not click on links for webpages that you don’t know and always check that the site is HTTPS secured
Never allow anyone remote access to your computer or download Apps that can give others control of your computer
Never disclose personal data or bank account passwords or codes.

Speaking at the 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.

“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. ”

An Garda Síochána is advising members of the public who believe they are a victim of investment fraud or think their personal information has been compromised to contact any Garda Station to report the crime.

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