Ghost Brokers – Simple Checks to Avoid Fraudsters

Mon Nov 30 2020

Press Release – 30th November 2020

Brokers Ireland has welcomed news of the first ever conviction in the State of a ghost broker selling forged or invalid insurance to unsuspecting consumers. The organisation is calling on those seeking insurance cover to be alert to the dangers of fraudsters masquerading as insurance brokers amidst “worrying” reports from the Gardaí that this type of fraud is on the rise in Ireland.

Brokers Ireland, which represents 1,225 Brokers registered with and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, said it is great to see progress being made by Gardaí towards targeting and catching those who are carrying out this fraud.

Cathie Shannon, Director of General Insurance at Brokers Ireland, said:  “Fraudsters often target young or what might be considered more vulnerable consumers, often foreign nationals who are not clear on how the insurance market works in Ireland and who may not have a good command of the English language.”

She said consumers should be able to establish the authenticity or otherwise of those presenting themselves as ‘brokers’.  And she said one of the most obvious signals can be an insurance quote that seems too good to be true. “If it seems too good to be true it usually transpires that it is. This opens up the prospect of serious consequences when the unexpected or unwanted happens,” she said.

She advised consumers to always check the authenticity of any person or company selling or administering insurance policies.

“The easiest and cost-free first step would be to check the Brokers Ireland website: because all our insurance Brokers are listed there. Our website has a handy search facility, which will also enable a consumer to find an insurance Broker in their local area.  Second, consumers can also check with the Central Bank, the website of which provides a search facility to enable consumers check whether the person or company purporting to sell insurance or administer policies is a regulated entity.”

She said while conducting business over the web is now the norm, the web is also an easy marketplace for fraudsters.

“Consumers need to be alert at all times. Think twice before purchasing insurance from sources such as social media sites and carefully check any insurance documentation for accuracy.  The term ‘ghost broker’ is unfortunate, the more correct description would be ‘fraudsters’, she said.

She also said Gardaí must be given whatever resources they need to continue their efforts to protect vulnerable and unsuspecting people.

End of Release

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