Crime is high. There is no doubt about it.
East pandemic theft, burglary and fraud abound and no one is safe. As this newspaper revealed during the week, four out of 10 Garda stations saw crime statistics spike, with fraud being the most common offense reported in 70 locations in 2021 (picturesque Ballycotton in East Cork is the country’s surprising fraud capital).
But what comes to mind when you picture your average criminal? Some badass shaved-head chaw who wields a gun and terrorizes little old ladies for their pensions?
In fact, very often financial crime has another culprit: a “respectable” third-degree student trying to make ends meet in a world of high costs and mounting bills. your son maybe? Or the nice guy next door. He wouldn’t harm a fly in real life, but his criminal activities could land him in prison.
According to the latest figures from FraudSmart, more than 12 million euros were illegally transferred by so-called money mules in the first six months of the year alone.
More than 3,000 such accounts have been identified and the vast majority belonged to 18-24 year olds, although worryingly some have been revealed to be as young as 15.
The soaring cost of living, a shortage of student housing, and a get-rich-quick scheme create perfect storm conditions for young adults to unknowingly become involved in this shady business.
All they have to do to commit a crime is set up or use their bank account for money laundering for a short period of time. They provide their data, sit back and collect commission for their effort.
Very often they are linked to it on social media or by a friend of a friend claiming to have made easy money.
“The promise of quick and easy cash in exchange for what seems as simple as opening a new bank account in the criminal’s name or using your bank account to deposit or transfer money,” is how the banking organization BPFI describes it.
“People can be unknowingly deceived or coerced into collaborating with scammers through social media posts, seemingly legitimate job ads, or even being approached directly in person.”
Some others are actively trying to get involved and assume no one will find out, or if they do, it’s no big deal.
The problem is that this is illegal, even unknowingly. Even if the laundered money isn’t yours and you didn’t steal it, it’s illegal. Even if there is no “victim” and it is a non-violent monetary transaction, it is illegal. Even if you don’t know who’s moving the money or why, you’ll get the rap for it.
And a conviction not only means a potential fine or jail time, but especially for this age group, it means sayonara to the J1 visa or future work or vacation in America, Australia or other attractive destinations. You can’t get in with a criminal record. That you “didn’t want it” is not a defense.
So the message for parents is to make sure their children understand the implications of this crime, which are no less serious than an actual robbery or mugging.
If you have been approached as a money courier or have been a victim of this type of crime, report it to your local Garda Station and contact your bank.
“If something looks too good to be true, it probably is,” goes the old adage, but that doesn’t stop thousands of people from getting caught up in investment fraud all the time.
In the first six months of the year there was a 164 per cent increase and in July alone such fraud accounted for 80 per cent of the financial losses suffered by Bank of Ireland customers, with personal losses ranging from €2,000 to a whopping €800,000.
These are, in most cases, sensible, educated, smart adults, so we’re not talking about sub-Saharan princes that you name in your will; These are sophisticated exercises in which victims are nursed slowly and thoroughly over a long period of time, duped with false promises of “beating inflation” or earning a return that outperforms the markets.
“Scammers, trying to pose as legitimate companies in various ways, offer these investments via phone call, SMS, email, letter or even home visits. A common tactic is to promise very high returns and then pressure people to make quick decisions about the investment opportunity,” said Edel McDermott, Head of Fraud at Bank of Ireland.
They don’t start with cold calls, they start with customers who put themselves at risk.
“People can fall victim to these scams when they are looking for products that offer better returns, such as investments, bonds, and bitcoin.
“Scammers attempt to pose as legitimate companies by developing compelling or professional-looking websites, creating documents that appear to lay out the details of the ‘investment’, or offering investors a special page on a website where they can ” Investment” can check. However, these are all bogus and the objective is simple – to steal the money handed over,” Ms McDermott said.
Concerned about being the target of investment fraud? An offer too good to pass up? The one who should have escaped? How to say it:
Unsolicited emails or social media posts promising “opportunities” to make easy money.
A sense of urgency about the transaction, meaning it needs to be completed within a few days or you’ll “miss out”.
It’s a secret. No one but a few knows about this product/company. But if it was that good, everyone would be doing it.
Pop-up ads on scroll, especially for the next big cryptocurrency. If they are “endorsed” by celebrities, it’s even more likely to be a scam.
It is easy to check whether an investment firm is regulated or authorized by the central bank. There are publicly available registers on centralbank.ie and no firm may do business in the country without a permit.
Never transfer funds without careful research, preferably through a regulated financial broker or advisor.
An increasingly common scam is being sent by your bank, post office or HSE telling you to wait for a call to verify – ironically – to avoid a scam. If you answer the call, the scammer will try to trick you into giving up your card details and will follow up by swiping a “fake notification” on their bank app to “complete an update process”. This is indeed a genuine transaction that you just authorized the scammer.
https://www.independent.ie/business/personal-finance/the-perpetrators-of-financial-fraud-often-dont-conform-to-the-stereotype-of-villains-42120042.html The perpetrators of financial fraud often don’t fit the stereotype of the villain