Central Bank warns on scam targeting consumers seeking cash loans

25 October 2023 News Categories

Central Bank of Ireland

The Central Bank of Ireland has issued a warning about a scam that is targeting consumers looking for cash loans from online providers.

The Central Bank is seeing an increasing number of cases of ‘advance fee fraud’1 that targets customers of high cost credit providers (HCCPs – previously known as moneylenders). The scam targets consumers applying for cash loans, offering them a cash loan in exchange for an upfront fee or an administration fee to apply for a loan.

High cost credit providers regulated by the Central Bank are not allowed to charge any administration fees to apply for a loan. If you are dealing with a regulated HCCP, you will never have to pay a fee up front before getting a loan, or have to pay a fee to ‘release’ the loan or loan documentation. If you are asked to pay a fee, you should not use that provider as it is likely to be a scam. If you share any payment details with these providers, you are at risk of losing significant amounts of money.

Director of Consumer Protection, Colm Kincaid, said, "This is an especially ruthless scam as it targets people looking for high cost credit, which is often used by people managing budgeting or other financial challenges.

"Beware of any firm that looks for an upfront fee from you. There are rules in place that mean no legitimate high cost credit provider can ever charge you an administration or application fee for a loan. If you are being charged a fee, you should immediately walk away and stop engaging with that firm.

"In some cases, we have seen websites that have been cloned from legitimate providers. So even in cases where no fee is charged, you should still check our register to ensure the provider you are dealing with is regulated by the Central Bank, which provides you with a number of protections.

"The Central Bank will continue to be vigilant to identify and deal with scams of this nature, and engage with An Garda Siochána to combat it."

Notes to editors

Some warning signs that a provider’s website is likely to be a scam are: 

  • The provider does not state it is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.
  • The website has promises of quick loans that try to push you into making a quick decision.
  • It says there will be no ‘credit checks’ or promises to give loans to people with bad credit.

1Advance fee fraud convinces victims to pay an upfront fee which its claimed is required to release a loan or larger payment