An Garda Síochána is advising the public to pay “particular close attention” when considering potential investments, after a 77% rise in reports of investment fraud this year.
Investment fraud involves criminals posing as investment managers to fool someone into investing money in schemes and projects that do not exist.
The average amount stolen from victims so far this year is €33,431.
Almost 70% of these victims are aged over 40 (65% male, 35% female).
At this time last year, €11 million had been stolen from victims of investment fraud in Ireland. This has now increased to 18.6 million at the same time in 2023.
Gardaí warn that these sophisticated criminals are taking advantage during a period of high cost of living, by cloning webpages and targeting victims through online and social media adverts.
These adverts commonly promise “once in a lifetime opportunities” to instantly invest with fast and large financial returns.
Detective Superintendent Michael Cryan of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau said:
“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.”
An Garda Síochána has issued the following pointers to avoid falling prey to these investment scammers.
- 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.