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Warning over websites offering fake certs and bills

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'One site examined brazenly offered “fake bank statements, fake utility bills, fake payslips” for a fee. ' (stock photo)

'One site examined brazenly offered “fake bank statements, fake utility bills, fake payslips” for a fee. ' (stock photo)

'One site examined brazenly offered “fake bank statements, fake utility bills, fake payslips” for a fee. ' (stock photo)

Gardaí have warned the public to be wary of websites offering to create false documents such as bank statements, insurance certs and utility bills.

These fake documents are then used to dupe businesses and launder money, it is feared.

It comes after the authorities have been increasingly active cracking down on falsified documents used to obtain mortgages and to sell fake motor insurance policies.

Dodgy websites offering to replicate genuine documents have been seen by this publication.

One site examined brazenly offered "fake bank statements, fake utility bills, fake payslips" for a fee.

Despite this it warns that "providing inaccurate or incorrect information that deliberately misleads others is committing fraud".

Financial expert Karl Deeter said fraudsters have become ever more innovative and that means it's more important than ever for financial services to use better technology and solutions to prevent it.

"In the past this would have taken a highly skilled printer, accountant and team of crooked experts to do, now you can buy it rapidly in the dark corners of the internet, it's a wake-up call for everybody in financial services to be more diligent than ever," said Mr Deeter of the mortgage website Yes.ie.

A spokesperson for An Garda Síochána said the force cannot discuss or comment on a named entity.

But he said "we always advise those who rely on the production of documentation in the transaction of business to be vigilant in terms of establishing the authenticity".

Gardaí said the use of fake or false documents to induce any person into accepting such fake or false document as genuine could be deemed to be a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years and a fine, or both.

Members of the public are advised to source such documents from official sources only, the spokesman added.

Criminals using forged documents to obtain mortgages as a way of laundering money has become a major issue for gardaí, banks and brokers.

This week a 32-year-old Romanian man was given a three-and-a-half year prison sentence for his part in a Europe-wide cybercrime and money-laundering organisation.

And thousands of fake car insurance policies have been sold by fraudsters operating in this country - forcing many unsuspecting drivers to pay on the double for their car insurance.

The fraudsters used fake documents to carry out their crimes.

Irish Independent