The search for profitable investment opportunities in thriving industries such as the crypto space has landed a great majority of investors in many fraudulent schemes. In just eight months of 2020, investors in the Republic of Ireland have lost at least $3.5 million to cryptocurrency scams.
According to a recent report, this represents a 65% increase in the number of cases involving fake investment schemes that have been reported to the Gardaí, the national police service in Ireland.
The Gardaí are concerned about this because most of the scams go unreported mainly because the victims have not yet realized that the investment site is a sham or they are simply too ashamed to report that they have been scammed.
Speaking on this issue during a press briefing at the Gardaí headquarters today, Pat Lordan, the Detective Chief Superintendent of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau, and his colleagues explained how these scammers operate and how investors can avoid falling into their trap.
He noted that these fake investment sites often offer their potential investors a variety of mouth-watering packages that will very likely entice them. Most times, these sites are unknowingly endorsed by public figures, and this further increases the trust that innocent victims have on the scheme.
In one instance, an unsuspecting victim had clicked on a fake pop-up that displayed how a famous Irish politician had mentioned the numerous benefits of buying cryptocurrencies and followed the link that appeared.
He signed up and was promptly contacted by a fake financial advisor. He began his “investment” journey and lost about €3,000 in the process only to discover that his funds had been sent to a bank account in Russia.
Chief Sup. Lordan stated that the statistics on hand revealed that about 60% of the victims were male and 40% were female. He also added that 78% of all the victims were individuals who are above 40 years, with a majority of them being those that are already retired.
He further added that “cryptocurrency in Ireland is not regulated by the Central Bank, and while there is nothing wrong with cryptocurrency and some people have made money out of it over the years, the type of scams that we see are bogus websites, bogus companies, and bogus individuals.”
Sup. Lordan concluded his statement by advising investors to ensure that they conduct the necessary research needed before making any investment and to visit an investment company that is legally recognized in order to avoid being scammed since many of the funds can not be recovered.