December 18, 2023
Government has no plan to tackle financial fraud and scams – Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance, Pearse Doherty TD, has warned that the Government’s failure to take the alarming rise in fraud and scams is leaving citizens vulnerable to criminal actions of fraudsters.

For several months, Deputy Doherty has called for the Government to bring forward a range of specific policies to tackle financial fraud and scams to protect citizens.

Speaking today, Teachta Doherty said:

“Since 2019 we have seen an alarming and massive increase in fraud and scams.

“Whether it is online, by text message or email, fraudsters are targeting citizens with fraudulent content to steal their money.

“Information released to me by the Department of Justice showed that, since 2019, instances of investment fraud have risen by 258 percent. Romance fraud has risen by 83 percent while scams through phishing, smishing and vishing has increased by a staggering 417 percent.

“Citizens are being robbed of millions of euros each year by fraudsters, and in the run-up to Christmas, the threat these scammers pose is only rising.

“Despite this growing threat, the Government has no plan whatsoever to tackle it.

“In December 2020, the Hamilton Report recommended the development of a multi-annual strategy to combat economic crime – three years later, the Government is yet to publish a multi-annual plan to tackle economic crime and fraud – this is not acceptable.

“Banks and An Garda Síochána still do not have a Shared Fraud Database to tackle fraud and protect consumers – this is despite banks repeatedly calling for it to be established.

“Government inaction is leaving citizens evermore vulnerable, with the Banking and Payments Federation warning that Ireland risks becoming a destination of choice for fraudsters.

“These scams are also being advertised online, even sponsored by social media giants and online platforms such as Google.

“Earlier this year I asked the Finance Committee to undertake a series of meetings into this growing crime, bringing before it all relevant stakeholders, including online platforms such as Google and Facebook.

“It is clear that online platforms and social media companies are not doing enough to tackle fraudulent content and the targeting of victims through their channels.

“For some time, I have called for significant penalties to be put in place against online platforms and social media companies that host fraudulent adverts.

“This has not been done.

“I have also called for banks to set up a name cross-check on their payment systems, called Confirmation of Payee, to cross-check the name of the person victims send their money to against the account of the fraudster – an effective system to reduce fraud that operations in the Netherlands and Britain.

“This has not been done.

“It is clear that the Government has dropped the ball, with no coherent plan to protect citizens from the criminal actions of fraudsters.

“It is time to take this threat seriously and tackle it head-on.”

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