Bank of Ireland has issued a fraud alert urging extra vigilance against and offering advice about 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.
Explaining how investment scams can operate, Head of Fraud at Bank of Ireland, Edel McDermott, said that 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,” she said.
Common warning signs of such bogus companies include: Internet search, as bogus firms online may appear when searching for investment opportunities or via pop-up messages on a website or through social media; false endorsement where a celebrity appears to promote an investment or tells a story about how much they made from it; and cold calls from someone claiming to be from a legitimate investment company who puts pressure on the consumer to take advantage of an urgent opportunity.
Consumers are urged not to respond to cold calls or be rushed into investing money, to be suspicious of any offers that guarantee a return or a large profit and to research the company and check the Central Bank register before making any investment.
Many firms might appear to have legitimate websites and convincing products or an investor log in to check investment but to safeguard against this, Bank of Ireland is urging consumers and investors 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) and if a firm is not listed, not to invest with them.
Bank of Ireland has said it 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.
Some useful links in the fight against fraud include: www.bankofireland.com/security-zone/, registers.centralbank.ie/Home.aspx, register.fca.org.uk/s/, and www.fraudsmart.ie.