Warning Over Unauthorised Loan Firm

The Central Bank of Ireland has published the name of an unauthorised firm offering financial services.

Evolve Cash Limited is advertising loans on its website and claiming to be regulated by the Central Bank but it holds no authorisation from the Central Bank as a retail credit firm, moneylender or otherwise. 

According to the Central Bank, Evolve Cash Limited has also cloned the Irish Company Registration Office ('CRO') number and address of a Central Bank authorised firm. It should be noted that there is no connection whatsoever between the Central Bank authorised firm and the unauthorised entity, Evolve Cash Limited, which has cloned its details.

A list of unauthorised firms can be found on the Central Bank website.

It is a criminal offence for an unauthorised firm/person to provide financial services in Ireland that would require an authorisation under the relevant legislation, which the Central Bank is the responsible body for enforcing. Consumers should check online to find out if a firm/person they are dealing with is authorised, and are advised to be wary of advertisements offering loans from unauthorised firms or persons.

Below are some general steps that individuals should take before dealing with firms/persons which purport to offer financial services:

• If you wish to obtain a financial product such as a loan, insurance, investment or pension, or if you wish to obtain a financial service such as investment advice, you should only deal with a Central Bank authorised firm/person. Always check directly though the website, rather than through links in emails or on a firm's/person's website.

• Always double-check the URL and contact details of a firm/person in case it is a 'clone firm/person' pretending to be an authorised firm/person, such as your bank or a genuine investment firm.

• Check the list of unauthorised firms. If the firm/person is not on the list, do not assume it is legitimate – it may not have been reported to the Central Bank yet.

Fraudsters are increasingly using legitimate firms' details to add an air of legitimacy to their fraud. The fraudsters will 'borrow' all of the legitimate information of an authorised/legitimate firm for the purpose of this fraud. They may quote authorisation numbers/company registration numbers and links to seemingly legitimate websites and even provide the real address of an authorised/legitimate firm. Consumers are advised to verify a firm's details and to call the firm back directly using its advertised phone number.

Any person with information regarding such firms/persons may telephone the Central Bank on (01) 224 4000. This line is also available to the public to check if a firm is authorised. Since obtaining the necessary legal powers in August 1998, the names of 364 unauthorised firms have been published by the Central Bank.

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