Tractor buyer’s costly cryptocurrency investment
An individual, who fell victim to a tractor scam, attempted to recoup losses by investing in cryptocurrency but was short-changed even further after making a sizeable investment.
That is according to the Department of Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman’s Overview of Complaints 2022, which contains the case study, entitled ‘suspicious cryptocurrency investment transactions on an account’.
The “impartial, independent, fair and free” service helps resolve complaints from consumers against financial service providers and pension providers.
It assisted an individual named Cathal, who saw a tractor on an online private sales platform and sent money to England to purchase it.
According to the report, “it turned out to be a scam, and he received neither the tractor nor a return of his money”.
Cathal wanted to make up for his loss and was attracted by an advertisement promoting cryptocurrency investment.
The company he utilised turned out to be fraudulent, and despite investing up to €20,000, he received no returns.
The case study states that at one point, the firm told Cathal that he would receive €60,000 if he sent them €6,000, which was untrue.
He continued to engage with the fraudsters, after he had made a complaint to the FSPO.
The report states that his bank said it could not get a return of his funds as he had correctly authorised the transactions through his online banking.
The bank also said that it had questioned him on some of his transactions but that he insisted they were legitimate.
However, on reviewing his banking history, the bank decided it could have “intervened more strongly at an earlier point” to stop the ongoing fraud.
For this reason, it offered him €5,000 on the condition that he would meet the bank to discuss his vulnerability and the protection of his future banking.
According to the report, he accepted this offer in full and final settlement of his complaint.
Investing in cryptocurrencies
In March of this year, to coincide with Fraud Week, An Garda Síochána urged the public to be “extra vigilant” when investing in cryptocurrencies.
When the cost of living is on the rise, Gardaí stated that these sophisticated criminals are “making the most of online opportunities” such as increased traffic and social media adverts to target more victims.
A spokesperson said: “Virtual currencies are high risk and unregulated in this country, so you should always check the regulatory status of the company you are dealing with before parting with any of your money.”
Gardaí have reported a 67% increase in reports of investment fraud in 2021 compared to the previous year.
According to Gardaí, almost 50% of victims of investment fraud are over 55.