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:
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:
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:
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 365Security@boi.com, 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.