April 5, 2024
Government inaction is leaving citizens vulnerable as €25 million stolen in investment fraud last year – Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance, Pearse Doherty TD, has warned that the Government’s failure to take action against fraud and scams is leaving citizens vulnerable to fraudsters.

Teachta Doherty was speaking after An Garda Síochána reported that €25 million had been stolen in investment fraud last year, a 90 percent increase from 2022.

The Donegal TD said that the failure of the Government to establish a shared fraud database and bring forward a multi-annual strategy to tackle financial fraud and scams risked Ireland becoming a destination of choice for fraudsters.

Speaking today, Teachta Doherty said:

“In the past number of years we have seen a massive increase in fraud and scams.

“Today’s figures from An Garda Síochána, showing a 90 percent increase in investment scams with victims losing more than €25 million last year makes clear that this is now the top financial threat in the State.

“I have been raising this issue for over a year but the Government is taking no action to tackle fraud, leaving citizens increasingly vulnerable to the actions of these criminals.

“Over €60 million has been stolen through this fraud in the past four years.

“Over three years ago, the Hamilton Report recommended the development of a multi-annual strategy to combat financial fraud – but the Government is yet to publish one.

“This is a clear dereliction of duty.

“For years the banking sector repeatedly calling for a Shared Fraud Database to be established to protect customers and prevent money being transferred to the accounts of these criminals.

“In Britain, their shared fraud database is reported to have prevent €1.2 billion in fraud every year.

“Government inaction is leaving Irish consumers as sitting ducks.

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

“Online platforms and social media companies are not doing enough to tackle fraudulent content that targets victims, nor are they being held to account.

“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.

“I am not satisfied that the powers given to the newly established Coimisiún na Meán under the Digital Services Act are sufficient to hold online platforms to account.

“For some time I have also called for banks to set up a security system on their payment systems to cross-check the name of the person victims send their money to against the account of the fraudster – a system that operates and works elsewhere in Europe.

“Government inaction is failing citizens and leaving them vulnerable.

“Ireland now risks becoming a destination of choice for fraudsters.”

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