PEOPLE in Ireland are being urged to be vigilant to investment fraud after figures revealed more than €25million was stolen by scammers in a 12-month period.
An Garda Síochána addressed the issue this morning at a media briefing held in Dublin to highlight the risks.
Detective Superintendent Michael Cryan, of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau, told those gathered that there has been a 77 per cent increase in reports of investment fraud in Ireland so far in 2023.
Almost 70 per cent of the victims of investment fraud are aged over 40, he added, with 65 per cent of those male and 35 per cent female.
The average amount stolen from victims so far this year is €33,431, he confirmed.
“People are always going to be attracted to promises of big profits,” Det Supt Cryan said.
“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,” he added.
“Between 2021 and 2022, over €25 million was stolen through investment fraud from ordinary people all over Ireland.”
The police service has advised the public to pay particular close attention when considering any potential investments given the sustained rise in investment fraud.
By the end of Q3 in 2022, €11 million had been stolen from victims of investment fraud in Ireland.
This had 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,” the gardaí explains.
“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,” Det Supt Cryan said.
“Always seek professional advice when investing, whether in cryptocurrency or any kind of investment product,” he added.
“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. “
Further information on investment and other types of fraud click here.