Rise in Purchase Scams Duping Consumers

  • Bank of Ireland responds to a 32% increase in purchase scams
  • Fraudsters capitalising on rise in online shopping and lack of industry action
  • Consumers are reminded to Stop, Think and Check!

Bank of Ireland is warning consumers about a new wave of purchase scams which is luring consumers to make payments for goods and services through an advertisement online, which then transpires to be fake.

In the last year, there has been a 32% increase in purchase scams reported to Bank of Ireland. From relatively low value items such as clothes and trainers, through to holiday home deposits and even cars, consumers are often lured by the false promise of a slashed price or bargain and asked to pay directly, sending money from their bank account to another via bank transfer, which provides little protection.  Once the payment is transferred, the seller usually cuts all contact, and the product or service never arrives.

Providing practical advice for consumers, Nicola Sadlier, Head of Fraud at Bank of Ireland, said: “Fraudulent advertisements online and on social media have been the subject of regular warnings for some time. This alarming trend is not going away, even with increased awareness among the general public, and repeated calls for websites and search engines to remove the adverts.  These fake ads should be caught before they are published online, but many are not.

It’s unacceptable to see fraudsters operating so openly through online advertisements. No company should be generating advertising revenue from criminals – search engines, websites and social media platforms really need to step up and crack down. Our advice to consumers is don’t click on these adverts, ignore them completely, and if something sounds too good to be true, it’s probably fraud.”

Bank of Ireland’s advice in response to the current wave of purchase scams:

  • Research and read reviews to check the site and the seller are genuine.
  • Be alert to poor grammar and spelling, or vague product descriptions.
  • Go directly to the online shopping site by typing the web address into your web browser.
  • Links in unsolicited emails or on social media are not always safe and should be avoided.
  • Use secure payment methods, try and pay by debit or credit card, or the secure payment method recommended by reputable online retailers and auction sites, as this could give you more protection.
  • Never agree to buying vouchers or other items for someone as a way to pay for something else.
  • Always view large purchases in person prior to making full payment for them.
  • If people suspect they have been a victim of fraud they should contact their bank immediately so that the bank can take action to stop a fraud in progress and try to recover funds. Bank of Ireland customers can call our Fraud Team 24/7, on the Freephone line 1800 946 764. 

Bank of Ireland is hosting a series of fraud awareness events in branches around the country, where its fraud and security teams will provide advice to members of the public and business owners on the latest fraud trends in circulation and tips on how to safeguard their finances.


For full listing of fraud awareness events and advice and information on fraud visit the Security Zone the Bank of Ireland website.

Bank of Ireland developments to combat fraud:


Bank of Ireland takes a wide range of steps to protect our customers and the Bank from all types of fraud, including:

  • Resourcing a dedicated fraud team which works 24/7 to catch fraud attempts and alert and protect customers, and to attempt to retrieve customers’ money when a fraud attempt is successful;
  • Investing in a range of fraud services, tech systems, and upgrades to enhance consumer and business protection from fraud;
  • Running ongoing fraud-awareness campaigns directed at customers and the wider public, and support the sector in similar activity through our membership of the BPFI and its FraudSmart campaign;
  • Maintaining active working relationships with national and international police forces and inter-governmental agencies to track emerging threats.


Practical steps that we have taken to protecting customers include:


  • Providing Bank of Ireland’s TextChecker Service –  allows customers to check directly with Bank of Ireland if a text is genuine, which the Bank will confirm within 60 seconds
  • In-app Card Control features
  • Two-factor authentication
  • Providing warning messages to customers at the time of setting up a new beneficiary, this encourages customers to Stop, Think and Check before sending money.

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