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FraudSMART Payment Fraud Report – H2 2021

Fraudsters stole nearly €45m through frauds and scams in second half of 2021, up 50% on previous year – latest FraudSMART report

  • Credit and debit card fraud (including ATM) hit €14.5m – highest level since H1 2017
  • Unauthorised electronic payment fraud (excluding cards) rose to €21.5m, driven by sharp increase in online and mobile banking
  • Consumers scammed out of €7.6m through authorised push payments down 4.4% year on year 
  • FraudSMART issues stark warning to consumers to be extra vigilant with Black Friday shopping and pre-Christmas rush well underway

Monday 21st November 2022 – A new report published today by FraudSMART, the fraud awareness initiative led by Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI), shows fraudsters stole nearly €45 million through frauds and scams in the second half of 2021, a jump of 50% on the same period last year. The report comes as FraudSMART issues a stark warning to consumers to be on high alert as Black Friday approaches and the pre-Christmas shopping rush gets underway.

The FraudSMART Payment Fraud Report H2 2021 outlines how debit and credit card fraud (including ATM) hit €14.5m, up 18.5%, the highest levels since H1 2017. Most of the increase was driven by online card fraud or ‘card not present’ where a fraudster uses the victims compromised card information to make an online purchase. However, 2021 also saw payment card fraud at ‘point of sale’ or in-store return to pre-Covid levels as most retail outlets reopened with the lifting of most public health restrictions.

The report also highlights the soaring value of unauthorised electronic payment (credit transfer and direct debit) fraud which at €21.5m reflects a sharp increase in online and mobile banking fraud. This type of fraud happens when a payment is made by another person without the account holder’s authorisation or permission and usually results from the loss, theft or misappropriation of sensitive payment data (such as account numbers and PINs).

Additionally, the report shows how consumers were scammed out of €7.6m through authorised push payments, down 4.4% year on year. This type of fraud takes place when a victim is duped into transferring money from their account to a fraudsters account such as through romance or investment scams.

As Black Friday approaches and the pre-Christmas rush gets underway FraudSMART has today issued an appeal to consumers to be extra vigilant and inform themselves of the simple steps they can take to prevent falling victim to fraud.

Speaking about the latest figures and how consumers can stay safe when shopping either online or in store this Christmas, Niamh Davenport, Head of Financial Crime, BPFI said: “Today’s fraud figures are a stark reminder that consumers need to be on high alert during what is the busiest online shopping period of the year. We know that fraudsters are continuously updating and adapting their tactics and tools. As well as scam texts, phone calls and emails, scammers have developed a range of techniques to convince online users to disclose key personal or financial information. While banks are using a range of measures such as encryption and continuous fraud monitoring to protect their customers and ensure every day payments can be made securely, fraudsters are increasingly targeting businesses and consumers directly, so it is important for us all to know how to protect ourselves.”

Ms Davenport continued: “With a jump of almost 46% in debit card fraud losses alone, we are calling on all consumers to pause for thought before parting with their money or information and familiarise themselves with some of the very straight forward steps they can take to protect themselves.”

Top Tips for Shopping Safely Online

  • Use sites where a padlock symbol is shown beside the website address.
  • Do not under any circumstances use public Wi-Fi when making payments – switch to 3G/4G on your phone if necessary.
  • Independently visit the website of the online sales company as opposed to clicking on social media or pop-up adverts.
  • Be cautious about claiming outrageous offers – if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
  • Stick to well-known websites or websites that you are familiar with, or websites associated with high street retail outlets.

Consumers can access a wealth of other advice on how to avoid fraud by visiting


For further information contact: Jillian Heffernan, Director of Public Affairs, 087 9016880 or or Fiona Murphy, Head of Communications, 087 9740046,

About FraudSMART: FraudSMART is a fraud awareness initiative developed by Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) in conjunction with the following member banks, Allied Irish Bank plc, Bank of Ireland, KBC Bank Ireland, PermanentTSB, Ulster Bank, An Post and Barclays. The programme aims to raise consumer and business awareness of the latest financial fraud activity and trends and provide simple and impartial advice on how best they can protect themselves and their resources.

About BPFI: Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) represents the banking, payments and fintech sector in Ireland.  Together with its affiliates, the Federation of International Banks in Ireland and the Fintech & Payments Association of Ireland, BPFI has over 100 member institutions and associates, including licensed domestic and foreign banks and institutions operating in the financial marketplace here.

The FraudSMART Fraud Report H2 2021 is available for download below in PDF format.