The Central Bank of Ireland has recently released a batch of warning notices to the public warning against a group of unauthorized firms that have been targeting residents of Ireland. These scam websites have been using the logo and name of the Central Bank of Ireland in an attempt to make themselves seem more legitimate, a tactic that has let them harm far too many victims.
The Central Bank of Ireland serves as the financial services regulator for most financial firms operating in Ireland. As part of its duties, the bank issues warning notices when firms are known to be operating without authorization. These warnings cover a wide range of different types of firms, including loan, investment, and crypto scammers.
A New Wave of Online Scams
The work of combatting online scams is never-ending. Even after a specific scam website has public warning notices published, they can still claim many victims who simply don’t take the time to investigate the firm they’re doing business with. Moreover, the scammers can simply change the name of their website and run the exact same scam all over again.
That’s why hardly a day goes by that there aren’t several new warning notices put out by the Central Bank of Ireland. Scammers are truly relentless, and this recent batch highlights just how bad the problem has become. June 10th saw the bank report six unauthorized identities in just one day, which is much more than usual.
The warnings were against the following firms:
- Cofino Capital
- CFDS Finance
- Assist Finance
- Roalix Finance
- FX Finance Kredit
- CFDS Invest
The bank warns that these firms are not authorized to operate in Ireland. Furthermore, they say that these websites have been using their name and logo to imply a partnership that does not exist. These firms are not registered with the Central Bank of Ireland.
The bank states that these websites are running advanced fee fraud. Most of the websites claim to offer consumer credit products and loans, while others are fake investment opportunities. In either case, the bank states that the websites will ask for an advanced fee and then never provide the credit or investment products they promised.
Central Bank Deals With Many Types of Scams
Simply lying about being a registered firm is a common tactic among online scammers. These scam operations rarely operate out of the country they’re targeting and are generally safe from the law. They operate anonymously, and little can be done even when they are found. As such, they can carry out such blatantly illegal deception.
Consumers can protect themselves by looking up the name and registry number of any supposed financial service. The Central Bank of Ireland maintains a complete registry, so it isn’t hard to do so. However, even consumers that follow this advice can still find themselves falling victim to online scams.
That’s because the Central Bank of Ireland also has to deal with another type of scam – cloned firms. Many of the warning notices put out by the bank are about cloned firms, websites that copy the legitimate registration information of another firm to make themselves look trustworthy.
When the scammers make a website, they can take the name, registration number, or both from a registered firm. That way, even savvy consumers who take the time to check the registry can still be fooled. The bank recommends that consumers always check the URL of any website to make sure they’re visiting a legitimate firm and not a clone website.
The Bank’s Advice on Avoiding Scams
Investment and cryptocurrency scams like the recent Immediate Edge app which was exposed here, are still growing in Ireland despite the frequent warnings issued by the Central Bank of Ireland. 2021 saw online investment scams take over €12.4 million from Irish investors.
The bank advises consumers to follow a few simple steps when evaluating any investment, loan, or other financial opportunities.
- Double-check the website’s URL and any contact details you receive to ensure that the firm is who they say they are.
- Check to see if the firm is on the list of unauthorized firms that have had warning notices.
- Make sure that the financial product being offered is found on the firm’s official website.
- Carry out the SAFE test: Stop, Assess, Fact-Check, and Expose and report if you think you’re dealing with a scam.
The Central Bank of Ireland relies on reports from consumers to identify many of the scams it issues warning notices for. By working together, consumers and regulators can take effective action against scammers.