COVID-19 has led to a significant increase in Fraud.

Fraud takes many forms, but in an investment scam, fraudsters will try to convince you to ‘invest’ in an opportunity. This can be in real estate, gold, cryptocurrency, a financial product or another asset.

In order to make the scam appear legitimate, the fraudsters pretend to represent a known business. They impersonate members of staff and use what appears to be genuine documentation to help convince you that you are dealing with the company they are impersonating.

If you believe you have been caught out and have paid away funds, call your bank immediately. Tell them about any payments made which are linked to the scam. It might be possible to recover some of the funds by calling the beneficiary bank.

You should also report the incident to the Gardai as investment scams are a criminal matter.

How can you protect yourself?

  • Beware of unsolicited approaches or where you are pressured to invest by a deadline.
  • Do NOT call back a number you have been given; call back only on a trusted number you can find independently.
  • Brand impersonation fraud is increasingly common. If you have been contacted by email, pay attention to the sending address.
  • Watch out for fake advertisements, particularly if they appear in search results online or on social media websites. Search engines and social media platforms do not verify adverts.
  • Avoid making rushed decisions, and check the Central Bank of Ireland’s listing of unauthorised firms before making any kind of investment.
  • Do your research and check several websites for investment opportunities.
  • If a product appears on one website only, this might be a scam. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Interest rates are at an all-time low across all financial institutions. If a product offers a higher-than-average return, it may not be genuine.