‘Fraud has exploded’ in Tipperary

Online fraud has “exploded” in Tipperary and individual victims have in some cases been at the loss of hundreds of thousands of euros.

A meeting of Tipperary Joint Policing Committee heard that 154 cases of online fraud have been reported so far this year in Tipperary and Clare. The figure could be split evenly between the two counties.

Detective Superintendent James Tierney said the fraud offences gardaí are dealing with locally are almost on a par with the level of burglaries. “Fraud has exploded over the last few years,” he told the meeting.

The offences generally relate to fraudulent phone texts, phishing and account takeovers. This type of crime is very difficult to investigate and time-consuming for gardaí, he said. The majority of cases involve criminals operating outside the jurisdiction and gardaí must liaise with their colleagues in Interpol.

Det Supt Tierney informed the meeting that gardaí have dealt with individual cases where the injured party was defrauded of hundreds of thousands of euros.

His advice to people was to refrain from clicking on links sent in text messages or emails.

Go back to the parent website and check details using the reference number where provided.

He said local gardaí have also had to deal with an increasing volume of “money mules”, people who allow criminals to use their bank accounts to hide assets.

These are often young people who see an opportunity of making some money through the use of their account.


CEO of Tipperary Chamber Michelle Aylward wanted to know how much fraud crime is business-related, as opposed to personal. She was aware of businesses that were targeted by fraudsters and were afraid to report it for fear of damaging their reputation.

Det Supt Tierney said the majority of fraud cases involve individual injured parties. There have been cases of business email compromises. One of these involved a sophisticated criminal network, the investigation of which led to four suspects being arrested and charged.

He agreed that some business owners do not come forward to report crime; they “write it off as a bad experience and move on”.

Cllr Richie Molloy spoke of the embarrassment victims feel at “being duped”.

He knew of people that would be regarded as “in tune” about online crime but fell victim because they were under pressure to secure college accommodation for a family member.

“If a deal is too good to be true, it probably is,” Det Supt Tierney advised.

He encouraged people to try to meet or at least speak on the phone to vendors in such situations. Situations where the other party relies solely on text messaging and won't actually talk are a “red flag”.