Irish people have lost almost €3m to investment fraud in the first eight months of this year.
Gardaí have seen a significant increase in the numbers being scammed into investing in non-existent opportunities.
People are persuaded to make investments usually where there is no business opportunity at all.
Gardaí say there are generally promises of fast enormous returns, or claims of a once in a lifetime opportunity, sometimes endorsed by celebrities without their knowledge.
65 people from across the country have reported being the victim of investment fraud so far this year, which marks a 60% increase compared to the same period last year.
Gardaí say the figure could be higher, as many victims don't report the crime due to embarrassment.
59% of victims are male while almost 41% are female, with the highest number aged between 61 and 70.
In one case currently under investigation, a woman lost €375,000 after she continued to invest in cryptocurrency because she was receiving fake reports that her deposits were growing.
In another case, a person in contact with a man they ‘met’ over the internet was persuaded to invest in his business and lost over €120,000.
In all of 2019, more than €3.3m was stolen, with Gardaí projecting that at least €4.5m will be reported this year.
Gardaí are urging people to ignore cold callers or anyone offering them investment opportunities online and to always seek independent financial advice before investing.
Additional reporting by Kacey O'Riordan