The Central Bank of Ireland (‘Central Bank’) today 11 November 2019 published the name of an unauthorised firm, Piggy Money (United Kingdom) – www.piggymoney.co.uk (website no longer available) in order to warn the public that it is not authorised by the Central Bank to provide financial services.
Piggy Money was advertising loans on its website but it holds no authorisation from the Central Bank as a retail credit firm or a moneylender or otherwise. The unauthorised Piggy Money has also cloned the authorisation number of a firm that is authorised by the FCA. It should be noted that there is no connection whatsoever between the unauthorised entity Piggy Money and the FCA authorised firm, whose details have been cloned.
A list of unauthorised firms published to date is available 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 the Central Bank registers online to find out if a firm/person they are dealing with is authorised. Consumers should be wary of advertisements offering loans from unauthorised firms or persons.
There are some general steps that individuals should take before dealing with firms/persons which purport to offer financial services:
- If you are buying a financial product such as a loan, insurance, investment or pension, or engaging a financial service such as investment advice, only deal with a Central Bank authorised firm/person – check our Register to see if the firm/person is registered. Always access the Register from our 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 our list, do not assume it is legitimate – it may not have been reported to the Central Bank yet.
Any person wishing to contact the Central Bank with information regarding such firms/persons may telephone (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 368 unauthorised firms have been published by the Central Bank.