As we approach the busiest shopping period of the year beginning with Black Friday and extending to Christmas, fraudsters will sense opportunity. At a time of heightened anxiety and a rising cost of living, falling victim to fraud can have a devastating impact both emotionally and financially.
In this edition of Reflecting Ireland, we focus on ten of the most common types of financial fraud in Ireland. We look at how many have experienced attempts or been victims, those that are most likely to fall victim, amounts taken, what we do to protect ourselves and who we are most likely to tell if we have been targeted.
As online financial fraud is on the increase, we look at our online shopping behaviour and the steps we take to reduce our risk when conducting transactions online.
To help us interpret the findings, we’ve again partnered with Claire Cogan of BehaviourWise who takes a look at the results from a behavioural science perspective.
Financial fraud on the increase
Three quarters of us (75%) have experienced an attempted financial fraud and over a quarter (27%) have been victims. Victims are more likely to be young (under 45, particularly Millennials), men and living in Dublin or urban areas.
The most common types of financial fraud are vishing (phone call / voice message), smishing (text message) and phishing (email). Other common scams relate to lottery wins, inheritance, investment, romance, tickets sales or property rental.
Almost two thirds (64%) of incidents involve amounts of €500 or less, 15% amounts of €501-€1,000, 12% amounts of €1,001- €5,000, and 10% amounts greater than €5,000.
Some advice about protecting ourselves has landed. Two thirds (65%) say we would not trust an unsolicited call, text or email even if it came from a well-known brand, and over 8 out of 10 (84%) agree their bank would never send a text message asking them to click on a link.
To protect against the risk on fraud, half of us (51%) always or sometimes avoid shopping online and 63% always or sometimes pay by cash rather than card.
Older people are much more likely to check their bank accounts weekly for evidence of fraud; 80% of those aged 65+ do so vs. 40% of 18-24 year olds.
Pessimism about the economy
Despite the resilience of the economy at a national level, and Ireland achieving second position as one of the best countries to live in 2022, sentiment at an individual level remains downbeat.
Almost two thirds (64%) feel worse off than this time last year and only 1 in 10 (11%) feel better off. People are relatively less pessimistic about the year ahead with 55% expecting to be worse off, and 13% better off. This mirrors how we felt in 2013.
Seven out of 10 (70%) expect the national economy to get worse over the coming year, fewer than 1 in 10 expect it to improve. This mirrors how we felt in 2009, although we have yet to reach the peak levels of negativity seen in the immediate aftermath of the financial crash.
Our national mood is more downbeat (63%) than positive (37%). The dominant mood is anxiety (28%), now at its highest level since 2017 and three times as high as it was then.
For 8 out of 10 (83%) the cost of living is the most pressing issue to be addressed in Ireland today. This is followed by housing issues; the price of housing (47%), homelessness (45%) and affordable rents (33%), and access to quality healthcare (44%). Covid-19, a key concern this time last year, is now a key issue for only 1 in 10 (9%).
The Reflecting Ireland research series was conducted in October 2022 among a nationally representative sample of 1,114 adults aged 18+ in the Republic of Ireland.