Bank of Ireland has issued a fraud alert today urging extra vigilance against investment fraud. Following an increase in reports of incidence of investment fraud the Bank is strongly advising consumers to be alert to investment scams being carried out by false and unregulated companies offering fake investment opportunities.
Describing how investment scams can operate, Edel McDermott, Head of Fraud at Bank of Ireland said: “There has been a notable increase in false and unregulated companies offering convincing investment opportunities promising a quick profit. For example, they might be selling cryptocurrencies or offering bonds and share investments that do not exist. A consumer or investor who falls victim to these companies and hands over money is unlikely to see their money again. There is unfortunately no redress for a consumer or investor who hands over money to an unregulated firm. By being aware of how these false companies turn up and the tactics that they use, consumers and investors can take steps to protect themselves against fraud and financial loss”.
Common ways to encounter these bogus companies and warning signs include:
Internet search: Bogus firms online may appear when searching for investment opportunities or via pop-up message on a website or through social media.
False endorsement: Online article where a celebrity appears to promote an investment or tells a story about how much they made from it.
Cold calls: Unsolicited calls or emails from someone who claims to be from a legitimate investment company who puts pressure on the consumer to take advantage of an urgent opportunity.
How consumers can protect themselves from these scams:
- Do not respond to cold calls and don’t be rushed into investing your money.
- Be suspicious of any offers that guarantee a return or a large profit.
- Research the company and check the Central Bank register before making any investment.
Many of these firms might appear to have legitimate websites and convincing products or investor ‘log in’ to check your investment. To safeguard against this, consumers and investors are urged to ensure that any company they are considering investing with is a regulated firm by checking the Central Bank of Ireland register (ROI) or Financial Conduct Authority (UK). If a firm is not listed, do not invest with them.
Bank of Ireland is committed to building awareness around fraud, including investment fraud of this nature. Bank of Ireland will continue to focus on the issues around fraud, through the Bank’s own channels and by working collaboratively through the Bank and Payments Federation of Ireland (BPFI) FraudSMART campaign.
Useful Links in the fight against fraud:
Bank of Ireland customers who think they have been the victim of this type of fraud, should contact the Bank as soon as possible.