Ireland: Crypto Scams Down, Banking Scams Up

Is the crypto industry Ireland’s favorite field for online scammers? No, says the country’s Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB). The state body reports that scams involving banks account for the majority of online scams this year. Whereas they used to account for over 95% of scams, cryptocurrencies are increasingly being abandoned by criminals.

Scammers no longer use crypto

Cryptocurrency haters blame crypto for facilitating online fraud, money laundering or terrorist financing. However, this false case is insufficiently supported by real facts. Ireland provides further proof that the crypto industry isn’t as dirty as it’s made out to be.

While they accounted for more than 95% of online frauds, cryptocurrency scams are not the most widespread form of theft in Ireland. The information was revealed by the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB), the government agency responsible for the suppression of economic crime. Finding the crypto industry less conducive to crime, most crooks invest in the banking sector.

The banking sector, the Eldorado of online scams in Ireland

While the banking sector is largely regulated, it has been a breeding ground for online scams in Ireland. Scammers posing as bank officials have stolen over €20 million from Irish people since January 2023. These “banking agents” contacted victims by telephone and/or e-mail, GNECB reports.

In recent months, what has become increasingly common is that victims have often been contacted by phone or e-mail by fraudsters claiming to work for banks… It’s clear that bank scams are the way they’re making the most money at the moment.

Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB)

“Fake bankers” have some tricks up their sleeve. In addition to speaking English with a British accent, these crooks have a well-honed business language. What’s more, they don’t hesitate to provide charts, graphs and other evidence to prove their credibility. This is particularly true of the fake websites they use to empty the accounts of victims, most of whom are elderly.

The average age of victims in these cases is between 50 and 55.


GNECB not giving up on online scammers

Despite the multiplicity of scamming methods, the GNECB is not giving up. In particular, the government agency has managed to recover 4 million euros from fraudsters since January. In addition, more than 20 UK bank accounts used by fraudsters have been detected.

It is also taking its fight against economic crime beyond Ireland’s borders. Indeed, the GNECB is part of HAECHI III, an international police operation coordinated by Interpol. This international operation arrested nearly 1,000 suspected fraudsters and recovered over 123 million Euros worldwide last year. In addition, nearly 2,800 bank accounts and virtual assets linked to online financial crime were blocked.

Online scams are an undeniable reality. However, the use of cryptocurrencies by criminals is steadily declining. It is interesting to note that it is now the state regulators which come to the defense of crypto.