Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Justice and Equality, Jim O’Callaghan, has said that the publication of Recorded Crime Statistics gave an indication of how sophisticated organised crime has become online in Ireland.

There has been a large spike in fraud and related offences in the last year with the annual statistics showing that reported cases of fraud increased by more than 25% to almost 8,000 last year.

Deputy O’Callaghan said: “The figures show how highly sophisticated organised crime has become in this country. Reported cases of fraud saw a 25% increase in the past year.

“Organised crime and gangs in particular are now operating online and hiding behind the dark web to conduct their illegal activity.”

“These figures reveal that criminals are devoting more of their time to committing fraud, particularly online. This change of emphasis by criminals will become even more apparent in these uncertain emergency times when most people are compelled to stay at home and opportunities for burglaries have reduced.

“Everyone needs to be extremely careful when communicating online and must ensure that they do not give out any confidential financial information unless fully satisfied that the recipient of that information is reliable. We also must ensure that elderly people who are staying at home, many of them alone, are protected from fraudsters who opportunistically may seek to defraud them of their money,” said Deputy O’Callaghan.