All firms who provide regulated financial services in Ireland are authorised by the Central Bank of Ireland (CBOI) or a corresponding regulator in another EEA member state.

If you engage with an unauthorised firm, you will lose the protections of regulation which are designed to look after you if things go wrong.

For instance, you will lose the protection of the following:

  • The Deposit Guarantee Scheme (DGS): this scheme protects you if you have money in a bank, building society or credit union that is unable to repay your savings, up to a limit of €100,000.
  • The Investor Compensation Fund: this provides protection and compensates you if an investment firm goes out of business and is unable to repay your money.
  • The Insurance Compensation Fund: this protects you when an authorised non-life insurance company goes into liquidation and is unable to pay any claims.
  • The Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman (FSPO): the FSPO provides an independent, impartial, fair and free service for you to help resolve complaints with pension providers and regulated financial service providers.
  • Where to check if a service provider is authorised

    The CBOI contains individual registers for all financial service providers regulated by the central bank.

    These registers contain names of all firms authorised to do business in Ireland.

    The CBOI also contains details of other types of financial service providers in Ireland which are not regulated.

    It will also publish warnings if a firm has been providing financial services without the appropriate authorisation.

    Fraudsters using social media

    Many fraudsters are using social media and fake websites and are hacking legitimate websites to offer financial products such as:

  • Investments offering high returns.
  • Mortgages and loans.
  • Cheap insurance policies.
  • Pensions and savings products with attractive benefits.
  • If any of these products are offered to you, think before you click, because if an offer appears too good to be true, it is very likely to be a scam.

    Be sure to consider the following:

  • Is the provider legitimate and authorised and from a trusted source?
  • Are you being rushed to commit?
  • Are you being asked for money or a fee in advance?
  • Is the service or product genuine?
  • More importantly, how did they get your details?
  • Seek advice from a trusted friend to gain a second opinion.

    If you have any concerns that the firm is not authorised or genuine to sell financial products be sure to inform the CBOI which works closely with the gardaí to stop fraudsters.


    Smishing is a scam where fraudsters use mobile phone text messages to trick you into opening a malicious attachment or link.

    Last week, Bank of Ireland warned of a spike in smishing messages being circulated, asking customers not to reply to fraudulent texts which are trying to obtain your bank account details.

    The texts give the appearance of being sent from the bank and from a genuine phone number.

    Bank of Ireland head of group fraud Edel McDermott said that fraudsters "target customers of banks, utility companies, postal, taxation and social welfare services and other organisations".

    She emphasised that fraudsters are active 24/7.

    The bank will never text, or email or call a customer looking for their confidential banking details.

    If you are suspicious of any text or email you have received be sure to forward it to, or call the bank.

    Be sure to delete the fraudulent text from your phone.


    If you engage with an unauthorised firm, you will lose important protections which were developed to look after you and your money if things go wrong.

    A bank will never ask you for your account details or secret PIN number.

    If you believe you have been targeted by a smishing text message, contact your bank or service provider immediately.

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