Man Loses Over €1 Million As Gardaí Reveals ‘Colossal Leap’ In Crypto Fraud

A man in the west of Ireland has been duped out of over a million euros in a cryptocurrency investment fraud.

The Central Bank has issued a new warning about investing in cryptocurrency as officers from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau investigate the case. The man was one of 234 people who reported investment fraud to the gardaí in 2021, up from just 50 reports in 2019.

He lost the money in seven deals made over a five-month period in mid-to-late 2021. The million euros he lost is among the €12.4 million stolen in reported deals at the gardaí last year, according to Detective Superintendent Michael Cryan of the Garda. National Economic Office.

He said: “In 2019 around €4 million was stolen, €8 million in 2020 and around €12 million in 2021. That’s a colossal leap.” He said people wanting to invest in cryptocurrency can come across websites online that look legitimate.

Some of them, however, are “completely bogus”, while others are cloned copies of legitimate websites.

He continued: “If you go to one of the bogus sites and enter your details, very quickly you will receive phone calls with very good sellers who will be pushy, giving you a once in a lifetime opportunity that you need to jump on. now or you will lose.

In his Securities Markets Risk Outlook Report released this month, the Central Bank says that while the nature and characteristics of crypto-assets vary widely, “crypto-assets are likely to be highly risky and speculative.”

In a statement to Irish Examinerthe Central Bank warned: “Consumers considering investing in a product should carefully consider their investment objectives, level of experience and risk appetite.

“It is important that consumers take the time to review all material information about the investment, how it works and the associated risks. The value of an investment can go down as well as up and consumers should be careful not to invest money they cannot afford to lose.

“The Central Bank notes the pace at which the crypto ecosystem is growing and the Central Bank continues to identify and closely monitor the risks associated with crypto assets.” The Central Bank also points out that cryptocurrencies are currently unregulated.

Cryptocurrency Ads

Meanwhile, the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland is currently investigating four complaints received regarding cryptocurrency investment advertising. Four such complaints have been received by the organization since December 2019.

A spokeswoman said the ASAI was aware of concerns “about consumer awareness of cryptocurrencies.” The statement adds that in addition to “truthfulness, honesty and justification,” the ASAI code contains a number of rules relating to financial advertising.

Article 13 of the code specifies that “marketing communications must clearly and prominently indicate that the value of investments is variable and, unless guaranteed, may fall as well as rise”.

Fine Gael Dublin Mid-West TD Emer Higgins recently discussed the lack of cryptocurrency regulation with Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe. She describes cryptocurrency trading as a high-risk activity.

She said: “That’s why I think we need to at least have warnings about cryptocurrencies. The government absolutely supports the development of new financial technologies, to drive innovation and digitalisation. However, the warnings from the Central Bank are clear about the risks of buying or investing in virtual currencies.

She said that since cryptocurrencies are not guaranteed by the Central Bank, investors have no guarantees or safeguards, unlike regulated financial services.

According to a survey of 1,529 Irish people published last month by personal finance site Finder.com, Bitcoin is Ireland’s most popular cryptocurrency, with 44.3% of those investing in the crypto- currency having opted for it. The second most popular coin is Ethereum at 26.7%, with Dogecoin in third place at 23.9%.

The Finder survey also revealed that men in Ireland are around 1.6 times more likely than women to own cryptocurrency – among crypto owners, 62% are men compared to 38% women.

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