March 27, 2024
Rising Frauds in Ireland: Shifting from Crypto to Banking Scams
Latest Cryptocurrency News

Fraudsters in Ireland Shift Focus from Crypto to Traditional Banking, Racking Up 20 Million Euros in Losses

In Ireland, fraudsters are now turning their attention away from cryptocurrency investors due to the prolonged bear market of the past two years. Instead, they are increasingly targeting traditional banking customers, as the frequency of cryptocurrency scams tends to correlate with the level of hype and profit potential within the crypto ecosystem. The ongoing crypto bear market appears to have deterred some malicious actors, leaving behind a more committed group of serious investors who prioritize due diligence.

As a result of this shift, scammers in Ireland have focused their efforts on banking customers, resulting in significant financial losses. In 2023, it was reported that Irish individuals lost nearly 20 million euros ($21.8 million) to fraudsters posing as representatives of banking institutions. One source disclosed that victims have been frequently contacted via phone calls or emails by fraudsters claiming to represent legitimate and well-known British banks or trading houses. These scammers, impersonating traditional banks, employ the tactic of reaching out to unsuspecting customers through phone calls and emails.

Irish law enforcement agencies are actively investigating numerous cases of a similar nature, and they have managed to recover 2 million euros ($2.1 million) from one of the scammers. Since January 2023, authorities in Ireland have managed to recover around 4 million euros of the 20 million euros that were lost to banking scams.

Remarkably, crypto scams, which once accounted for 95% of investment scams at their peak, are no longer the dominant type of scam. Instead of devising intricate crypto-related schemes, fraudsters are now imitating the websites and brochures of traditional banks to deceive victims into parting with their savings. Detectives have identified more than 20 bank accounts in the United Kingdom being utilized by these fraudsters, although they have not yet dismantled the operation.

During a panel discussion at the Australian Blockchain Week on June 26, Sophie Gilder, the managing director of blockchain and digital assets at Commonwealth Bank, revealed that one in three of the dollars that are scammed from Australians touches crypto. Nigel Dobson, the banking services portfolio lead at ANZ, referenced data from the Australian Financial Crimes Exchange, suggesting that the figure may be even higher, at 40%.

The Bank of Ireland has issued a warning to its customers to remain vigilant when approached by banking employees who pressure them into making quick decisions without careful consideration. This tactic is commonly employed by scammers to exploit unsuspecting investors. As Ireland grapples with the surge in scams targeting banking customers, a bank in Australia has reported that a significant proportion of scams involve cryptocurrencies.

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