The Central Bank has launched an information campaign to help consumers avoid personal finance scams.
It said fraudsters are using increasingly sophisticated methods which calls for an increased level of awareness among the public.
The scams take different forms including fake loan providers, ‘clones’ of well-known personal finance service providers like banks and fake investments businesses.
The Central Bank has created the ‘SAFE’ test, which gives consumers four practical steps to take when considering buying a financial product or dealing with a firm through a website, social media, an unsolicited phone call, email, text or pop up message.
The test consists of the following steps:
1. Stop. Think and ask yourself challenging questions about what you are being offered.
2. Assess. Make sure the firm is legitimate.
3. Fact-check. Seek advice to ensure that the product or service is legitimate.
4. Expose and report. If you have any concerns, contact the Central Bank.
Derville Rowland, Deputy Governor at the Central Bank of Ireland said nobody in immune to the threat posed by financial fraud.
“The proliferation of activity by fraudsters in the online world, and the move into social media in particular, means that every generation and demographic is at risk,” she said.
“Advances in technology have created great opportunities for consumers, but have also given fraudsters increased access to innocent victims,” she added.
Last week, the Central Bank warned consumers to beware of any reputed firm that looks for an upfront fee from you.
It said advance fee fraud is an especially insidious scam as it targets people looking for high cost credit, which is often used by people managing budgeting or other financial challenges.
“Always take your time when buying investment products or applying for a loan,” said Ms Rowland.
“Never act on the spot – especially if a provider puts you under pressure for a ‘deal’ – this is always an indicator you are not dealing with a legitimate service provider,” she added.