The part Kenny show on news talk with Marter private network during current restrictions. Don't ignore your health concerns. Our expert team is ready to help. Now, there's been a frightening surge in the number of cyber crimes across Ireland in the past year, people have lost, in some cases, tens of thousands of euro from their savings. And there is little or no recourse available to them. What protections might be available? Well, Garda Superintendent Pat Lordan, Detective Superintendent Pat Lordan is going to tell us a good morning and welcome, Pat.
Good morning. How are you today? I'm very well, and the question is about these scams, because I know my face featured in some of them pop ups. I mean, it's very odd. You're looking at a pop up of yourself saying that you've made a fortune in Bitcoin and people should follow my example. And I've said it many times on air, you know, that it's a scam that I haven't made a fortune from Bitcoin. I've never been involved in Bitcoin.
But still they pop up and it doesn't seem that Google or anybody else who runs a search engine can do anything about it.
Yes, it is very difficult part to deal with these issues in the current world that we live in, where we all believe in and see stuff in front of us on the Internet and in particular in relation to investment, frauds and scams. What we're seeing is that the more we look at the computer, the more we believe what it's telling us. And obviously, you're aware that we've launched Fraud Awareness Week this week in regard to Chicana. And today our topic is investment fraud and investment scams.
And a lot of them come from the items you have highlighted before your show, where they are being supported allegedly by celebrities such as yourself and many other people worldwide, when, in fact, they're not supported by these celebrity is in any shape or form. But the bottom line, really positive is when you're going investing your hard earned money, you need to make sure that you're putting it into an investment, that there is some hope of a return because there is absolutely no hope of a return in any of these scam websites and scam companies that are set up.
Yeah. Now explain what happens.
One of these things pops up and it could be Michael O'Leary or Bono myself or whoever it might be, but people that are clearly recognised by the intended audience. What happens if people click on one of these pop ups?
There's a couple of ways that they're trying to lure you in. So the first way is maybe you get a pop pop out. So how is investing lots of money in Bitcoin and this is the way you should invest your money? Obviously, with all the economic climate where interest rates are so low, we have seen over the last year, in particular nest egg, that they have saved either too cold with our troops and they want to try and get a return for us.
And they are tempted in all the stories that are put on ANCs that that this is a good way to go. So you invest maybe a small amount of money. First, 500 euros is the normal enough amount. After a couple of weeks, they come back to you with a fancy Webbs page or a printout and say your five hundred is now worth 1500 and they lure you in there to invest more and more and more.
So just before I came out this morning, I looked at two of the most recent case we have. One lady has asked thirty five thousand euros in this format over the last number of weeks and another gentleman has lost seventeen thousand euros. So our average loss would be about thirty seven thousand. But again, I always say these are only the ones that we hear about because a lot of people are really embarrassed to talk about these types of cases.
And the difficulty is most of the money in these types of investment fraud goes out of the Irish country economy very, very quickly to Bitcoin exchanges worldwide. And they are quite difficult to trace. And even when we do trace the Bitcoin wallet that it's gone into down the road, it's normally cashed out and it's quite difficult to to get it investigated.
And some of the countries we deal with, who are the perpetrators typically of these kind of scams?
Well, we would be focussing this week entirely on the victims, number one, but also on the perpetrators. The perpetrators of these types of crimes are not just a one off a scammer or a gangster. They are a very well organised crime group that have their tentacles in many countries worldwide. And the profits that they make from financial crime globally is enormous. And it feeds back into other crime Hutterites, drugs, economic crime, gun trafficking, human trafficking.
And we know from the experience that we've gained here in regard to National Economic Crime Bureau that they are feeding into many other types of crime and they are making astronomical amounts of money globally.
The kind of person who falls victim to these, the very fact that they're able to click on the links means that at some level they're computer literate, they have a desktop, a laptop, a tablet or whatever.
When this thing pops up and they they follow the link. And is there a profile of the victims that you have?
We would have traditionally seen, I suppose, male kind of 50 plus falling for this type of scam, but more recently, we're seeing the breakdown, maybe about 60 percent male, 40 percent female, and we are seeing the age profile dropping as well. But one thing to be careful of, Pat, I think, is that not always are these these are not always coming by way of pop up ads. Some people go online and they seek these out either through social media, our website or web searches.
And they come up with some of these sites that are promising you a fantastic return. And once they get you to click on the site and start talking to you on the phone are by way of email, they will convince you that they are a genuine company.
Most of these scammers that we're talking about today are after Kopi proper website belonging to another company, probably even using similar names to another company, which is legitimate.
So they're very well off it. Will you start to try and take out money? And they will say to you, it's not going really well there. You need to put in another 5000 and then hopefully that'll come good next week.
And we have seen. How automated are these things, though?
I mean, is there a scammer sitting at a keyboard somewhere?
And he he targets Joe Smith and, you know, decides I'll work on this guy because we got 500 last week and then we got a thousand this week. So we're now about 1500. So we'll have a go and get a bit more cash from this guy. Is there, you know, brain behind it or is it basically robotic?
No, no, there is a big brain behind this, there's a big network of criminal organisations behind this, so needless to say, they won't target anybody that doesn't have money to invest. So there's no point in wasting time like they might do tomorrow. You hear my colleague talking about snitching and phishing and all of the other types of frauds within this one. The victim is targeted, are the victim calls himself or herself to be targeted because they click on the site and go in looking to invest money.
So the minute they see you coming in to their site, they know you've got something to invest and they will talk to you on the phone. They will put you in contact with the investment manager in another country. They will they will talk to you several times over and over and over again, not always by way of email. And this one, they will be very hands on.
Yeah, and the identity of these people, I mean, if you hear someone with a clipped British accent or perhaps an Eastern European tone or perhaps even there's a local Irish agent who's doing the business, which is it?
Primarily in the investment type frauds that we're talking about this morning, they're not normally based within within Ireland and therefore the accent will not always be an Irish accent with some of the other scams that can be with this one in particular seems to be the earlier examples you gave. And I would say to people, if some of these people called your front door and asked you to invest 500 euros, you definitely wouldn't give it to them because you would say this is an unusual accent.
He's not from up the road or he's not from down the road. So I would say be careful of going online. You must remember people are spending 15, 20, 30000 euros with these companies. They've never met a person. They don't know where their offices. They don't have a contact number from them oftentimes because when you ring the number back, it won't answer. And regularly, Pat, we see when somebody has put 5000 or 20000 into these companies a few days or weeks later, they go, I'm not sure if that was a good investment or not.
I can't seem to contact with them. And regularly, so much time has passed that they've cashed the money out of the other side. So I'm afraid the best protection here for the people that are listening to your show this morning is to stop for one minute before you hit the bottom to send any money to these people. Stop and think.
If someone says, you know, as people have contacted me and said, we've seen your name back in this thing, and I explain this is a complete scam. But if someone does isolate, there's a scam going. I mean, and they call you, they call the Garda.
What what happens? Does anything happen?
Yes, we work with our international partners globally to try and suspend and take down some of these websites. And over the last number of months alone, we have been the reason why about 80 plus of these websites have been suspended. In addition to that, a lot of our colleagues in the financial services industry, in banking, they work really hard in this whole area. And they they spend a lot of time trying to take down some of the sites that are promoting their goods.
Fictitiously are by way of scams worldwide. So there's a lot of work going on in the background part that we never hear or see. The difficulty, obviously, is you rarely identify who has set up this website in some faraway land and it's quite difficult to do it.
Well, there's, I suppose, an old saying if it if it looks too good to be true, it is too good to be true.
And, you know, if you click on something with the promise of if it's not a lottery ticket for a couple of euro and which is a gamble you might be prepared to take, but with your hard earned money, be very careful because there's no such thing as free money.
No. And I mean, if we were all going to make so much money out of cryptocurrency and all these types of investments, you and I wouldn't be doing the jobs that we are doing with all those areas. So there is no such thing as easy money path, as you say. And please, I would say even when you're befriend somebody online, this is one of the more recent things we've seen. Somebody befriends you online, they've met you on Facebook, and they say, by the way, I have an investment where we can put in twenty thousand get out ten percent in a couple of years.
Be very careful of those. You don't know this person. They might be your friend on Facebook or social media, but you actually you have never met them and you don't know who they are. So I think it's all about doing your research. Google some of these sites that you're on. Do they exist and are they you know, there are lots of warnings online about scam websites as well. And if you are the victim of one of these crimes, please report it immediately.
I know you might be embarrassed. And, you know, people can be very embarrassed about losing their hard earned money this way. But I have spoken to people online, lost all of their pension fund, are lost all of their life savings, never to be seen again. So I think that's really what drives it home for me to try and help the victims here and avoid people from becoming a victim by advising them, stop and think there is no such thing as easy money, keep it in somewhere safe that you have control over us.
All right. Well, you can get more information on all of this out. Fraud, Smart Dorahy or guarder dot, dot AII and well worth following up on that to educate yourself as to the people out there who are trying to take your money. Detective Superintendent Pat Lorden, thank you very much for joining us.