Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty has responded to figures released to him by the Department of Justice showing a massive increase in financial fraud and scams.
Deputy Doherty called for the Government to bring forward a multi-annual plan to tackle economic crime and fraud as citizens feel increasingly vulnerable to the criminal actions of fraudsters.
Speaking this morning, Teachta Doherty said:
“Figures released to me by the Department of Justice show an alarming and massive increase in financial fraud and scams across the State.
“Since 2019, instances of investment fraud have risen by 258 percent.
“Account Takeover Fraud has increased by a staggering 560 percent.
“Romance fraud has risen by 83 percent while scams through phishing, smishing and vishing have increased by 417 percent.
“Citizens are being robbed of millions of euros each year by fraudsters.
“In December 2020, the Hamilton Report recommended the development of a multi-annual strategy to combat economic crime – two and half 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 exposed, with the Banking and Payments Federation warning that the State risks becoming a destination of choice for fraudsters as it falls further behind in addressing fraud.
“These scams are also being advertised online, on social media, by email and text message.
“Online platforms and social media companies are not doing enough to tackle fraudulent content or the targeting of victims through their channels.
“It is time to consider whether these online platforms should compensate victims when they are targeted through their channels.
“We also know that payment systems providers are not required to compensate victims of these types of fraud and scams – something that will soon be required in the North.
“Banks have no system 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 operates in the Netherlands and Britain.
“Consideration should be given to these measures to increase payment security and protect citizens from fraud and scams.”