Consumers have been warned about scam websites offering quick loans.
e Garda National Economic Crime Bureau said a number of websites target vulnerable people who have difficulty obtaining loans due to a bad history.
The websites are not regulated by the Central Bank.
Gardaí said dubious traders are offering unsecured loans in what they call advance fraud.
These operations target vulnerable people, especially those who have difficulty obtaining a loan from a conventional bank or credit union because they may have missed payments in the past.
The websites offering these loans offer to process the applications quickly and can also claim that the loans are available without the need for a good credit rating.
The sites also claim that it is not necessary to provide collateral for the loan, and even claim that a loan can be obtained without having to provide any documents other than basic personal information.
Some operators claim to be regulated by the Central Bank when this is not the case.
Detective Superintendent Michael Cryan, of the Garda’s National Bureau of Economic Crime, warned that the sites looked very “elegant” and “professional.”
There may also be cases where a company clones the details of an authorized entity by taking those details and pretending to be that entity or an associated entity.
He said that within minutes of applying for these loans online, the applicant receives a phone call to tell him that he has been approved.
The applicant is then asked to send a fee advance to the lender. However, no application document is ever sent, the loan is not issued and the fees are forfeited.
“It is difficult to know (how many of these sites there are), a number have been reported to custody by the Central Bank, by other banks and by the victims themselves. are removed, new ones can appear very quickly, ”said Det Superintendent Cryan.
“This is an emerging problem and we are working with the Central Bank to ensure that these sites are identified and removed,” he told RTÉ’s “Morning Ireland”.
The websites appear to be hosted outside of Ireland.
Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath called on the Central Bank to investigate the scam websites.