Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

18.20 11 Sep 2020


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Pat Kenny says he has so far 'gotten nowhere' in his efforts to stop cryptocurrency scammers who are using his name and image.

Fraudsters have used Pat's name and image, along with those of other well-known figures, in misleading ads which aim to trick people into investing in the scams.

On today's show, Pat spoke to Chief Superintendent Pat Lordan, head of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau, about recent increases in text and cryptocurrency scams.

Pat Kenny says cryptocurrency scammers are using his name to 'mislead' people

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Pat recounted his own experiences, saying: "I don't know if you've come across my gob on one of the cryptocurrency scams - 'Pat Kenny made millions from the cryptocurrency investment'.

"It's something I would not be willing to dip my toe in the water, ever, as far as I'm concerned.

"Those misleading ads... all sorts of people are seeing [them] - regularly I get communications from people saying 'I saw your name... that Bitcoin thing. Are you involved in that?'

"The wiser ones know it's a scam, but others find it credible for some reason. It's quite extraordinary... a sucker born every minute."

He has tried to complain to Google through their normal complaints procedure, but has 'gotten nowhere' in his efforts.

He noted he also wrote to the Data Protection Commissioner a few weeks ago to try to get her help, but has yet to receive a response.

'Don't always believe what you see on the internet'

Chief Supt Lordan says one of the difficulties is finding out where these scam sites are being hosted, and who is hosting them.

He said: "I would ask people, when they're looking at investment... why would somebody abroad offer you cryptocurrency or property... where the return is going to be 10, 20, 30, 40% over a number of years? It just isn't out there at the moment.

"People need to realise that interest rates aren't good at the moment - we'll have to suffer that for a while.

"Please don't start investing in any of these cryptocurrencies unless you understand what you're doing and you're going with a reputable company.

"Don't always believe what you see on the internet."

Chief Supt Lordan stressed Bitcoin is not illegal, and is widely used by many people around the world.

However, he noted there are also people using digital currencies to scam people - with gardaí having received reports of €3 million lost this year so far.

He noted: "They're only the ones we've got reports of.

"There will be a lot of other people out there who have invested money, and no hope of getting your money back or a return on it."

He pointed out the reality is that most people will never own one bitcoin (which currently has a value of around €8,600, although can fluctuate significantly from day-to-day).

Main image: File photo. Picture by: Ina Fassbender/dpa

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