Investment Fraud is one way criminals can steal your money. They try to convince you to invest in a scheme, shares or commodities, which either don’t exist, or aren’t worth the money paid for them. These scams are common and are usually perpetrated through aggressive sales tactics. They’re well organised and very convincing. Scammers will target anyone who responds to them and build trusting relationships with their victims over a period of time. Unfortunately, many of these scams are successful. There are many types of scams fraudsters use to persuade you to part with your money.
If somebody contacts you out of the blue by phone offering you the opportunity to invest in shares that are about to go through the roof - hang up immediately. Do not respond to unexpected emails or click on adverts across social media or online. The criminals may have researched you and appear to know a lot about you. These criminals will do their homework and make it their business to know as much about you as possible before they contact you. They will give you details that you think only a genuine investment company would know, such as a previous investment or share information. Watch out for offers endorsed by celebrities, these endorsements are totally false. Be cautious where the rate of return is very high and often advertised as guaranteed or risk-free.
These criminals will attempt to build a relationship over time. And watch out! An initial small investment may actually produce some returns before you are encouraged to invest a larger amount. If you are contacted by someone claiming to be from a well-known company, check them out independently with the company, look up the company on Google and ring the contact details on the website, not the number you have been given by the caller.
The caller may ask you to download software to your PC which will provide them unlimited access along with the ability take control of your PC and manipulate the images you are being shown on screen. They will say they are helping you to make a payment and will ask for login information to your AIB online banking along with security codes from your card reader/Digipass. Others will request payments to be made via Debit/Credit card. Never provide one time pass codes received via SMS. NEVER give codes from your card reader/Digipass on foot of a phone call. Never provide login or card information on foot of a phone call. Some of the scams ask you to buy Bitcoin or a cryptocurrency to invest in the scheme. They will set up accounts for you within these companies. Do not provide photo ID, Proof of address without verifying the legitimacy of the caller.
Remember: If it sounds too good to be true, it certainly is!
- Check if the company is authorised (by a financial regulator) to deal in such investments
- The Central Bank of Ireland advises that Consumers should take the SAFE test before making any financial decisions or providing any personal information:
S – Stop: Stop, think and ask yourself – What? Who? Why? Do I feel rushed to act?
A – Assess: Make sure the firm is legitimate
F – Factcheck: seek advice to ensure service or product is genuine
E - Expose and report: any concerns contact the Central Bank
- The Central Bank’s website includes a list of unauthorised firms in respect of which the Central Bank has published warning notices. You will note that these warning notices relate to firms that purport to be based in Ireland and in other jurisdictions. However, please also note that there may be unauthorised firms that have not yet come to the attention of the Central Bank. Members of the public can report alleged instances of unauthorised activity through the Central Bank’s website or directly by telephone.
Details for making reports are contained at https://www.centralbank.ie/regulation/how-we-regulate/authorisation/unauthorised-firms.
- The Financial Conduct Authority in the UK also have a website where you can check investment firms at https://www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart/warning-list
If the firm isn't on the Warning List. Even if a firm isn't on the Warning List, it might still be a scam. You should check it's an authorised firm on the Financial Services Register. Even if it's on the FS Register, it might still be a 'clone firm' pretending to be a genuine firm and you should do more checks.
- Get Independent advice from a qualified financial advisor
- Report any unsolicited contacts to An Garda Síochána / Police
- Reject cold calls. If you have been cold called about an investment opportunity, it is very likely that it is a high risk investment or SCAM
- Do not respond to high pressure tactics
- Do not divulge any of your personal or banking information prior to verifying the caller independently. If you have provided any information, contact us immediately
- Persistent emails can be marked as spam and block unwanted emails
If your investment or transfer turns out to be fraud, it is very unlikely that AIB will be able to recoup the fund.
If you would like to get in touch, please check the Contact Us section to get appropriate details.