West Limerick garda district sees significant increase in fraud and economic crime

Norma Prendiville

Reporter:

Norma Prendiville

Email:

normap@limerickleader.ie

Superintendent John Deasy

Superintendent John Deasy

THERE has been a significant increase in incidents of fraud and economic crime in the Newcastle West Garda District, Superintendent John Deasy has revealed.

“A lot of crimes are being reported to us about internet activity with people phishing for bank details and personal details, “he told local councillors in Newcastle West. “A lot of that is being orchestrated from outside the jurisdiction.”

“People have to be very careful about their personal bank details,” he continued. The internet is a great facility, he added, but care was needed. “It’s very easy to press the button,” he said but he advised a more prudent approach. “Everything doesn’t have to be done straightaway.”

If someone has a doubt about a phone call or message where someone is looking for bank details or if someone has a doubt about a transaction, they should contact their bank or financial institution to verify the situation, the superintendent advised. That would also alert banks that certain activity is taking place. “Report it to us, particularly if funds have been transferred,” he added.

If the gardai are informed early enough, before the transaction leaves this jurisdiction, there is a possibility of freezing it until the bona fides of the situation can be established.

If funds go to another jurisdiction, it becomes a crime for that jurisdiction, the superintendent explained.

“We want people to know it is happening,” he said. But he acknowledged that following the money trail in economic crimes was very, very time consuming and difficult.

But, Superintendent Deasy told the Newcastle West policing sub-committee, the incidence of  burglaries and criminal damage in the district was down on the same time last year. “Theft is slightly up and drink driving is up,” he said. Prosecutions under the Misuse of Drugs Act remained on a par, he added.

Extending the hours of opening at Abbeyfeale Garda Station was not possible at this point in time, he told the councillors, as he did not have the personnel to do so. It was, he pointed out, a matter of balance and he would prefer to see people out on patrol and in the community.

“There are 12 garda stations across the district,” he explained. The stations in Glin and Athea are to undergo  renovation, he added.

“In time, they will both be open and operational again.”