News Archives - Page 2 of 224 - Pat Carroll PCCO - Chartered Accountants & Tax Advisors

Beware of the scams designed to fleece you out of thousands

A good friend of mine was caught out by a scam before Christmas. He received a call on his home phone from an individual who claimed to be from Mastercard. The individual told him that a fraudster had got his hands on his debit card and used it to steal money from his account.

My friend was, however, assured that the fraud had been caught and that it was still possible for his money to be refunded – as long as he quickly bought iTunes gift cards and passed on the serial codes of those cards to the caller. He was instructed to withdraw money from his bank – and to use that money to buy the iTunes gift cards. The caller advised my friend to lie to the bank if queried about the withdrawal – and to tell the bank that the money was for Christmas gifts.

The caller was a fraudster. There had been no unauthorised use of my friend’s debit card and no money stolen from his account – the story was a fabrication. The money spent by my friend on the iTunes gift cards was lost. The serial codes of the iTunes gift cards were used by the fraudster to buy expensive products – or sold onto others.

The conmen behind these scams can be very convincing, often instilling panic into people so that rash decisions are made to rectify a non-existent problem – with money ultimately then being lost to the fraud. Many Irish people have lost thousands after falling for this scam.

Other scams have duped people out of larger sums, even tens of thousands of euro.

Scams have become increasingly pervasive in recent years. Three out of four Irish internet users have been targeted by online scams, according to a recent YouGov survey commissioned by Google. “From our involvement with the corporate sector, we are constantly getting calls about cyber attacks,” said Patrick D’Arcy, director of forensic and investigation services with Grant Thornton. “Fraudsters are always seeking opportunities to generate income.”

Here are some scams which Irish people have fallen prey to in recent weeks:

Broadband scam

There has been an increase in incidences of a phone scam where people receive a call about a ‘problem’ with their broadband or PC.

“The fraudster claims to be from Eir or another well-known telco,” said Niamh Davenport, head of fraud awareness with the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI). “The fraudster tells you there’s a problem with your PC or broadband – and talks you through some steps [on your computer] to fix the ‘problem’. While you’re doing this, the fraudster loads malicious software [known as malware] onto your computer. That malware can then track your activity online, and get your bank card details. This scam was stepped up in the last few weeks. Some bank customers have fallen for it.”

Contact your bank immediately if you have received a call like this – even if no money has been taken from your bank account or card. You may need to have your bank card cancelled and a new one sent to you. You should also get your computer checked.

You will often be unaware that malware is on your computer – until you notice money stolen from your bank account, unauthorised transactions on your credit or debit card, or you simply have problems using your computer. As well as getting your bank card details, malware can get other personal and financial information.

In another version of this scam, several people in Wicklow have received a call from a fraudster claiming to be from a local broadband provider. The caller demands money over the phone for unpaid bills and threatens to disconnect the broadband service unless paid.

Free smartphone scam

The consumer watchdog, European Consumer Centre (ECC) Ireland, has received a number of complaints about a website based in Denmark. “The website is contacting consumers asking them to enter into a competition or to complete a survey to be in with a chance to get a very expensive smartphone,” said Martina Nee, spokeswoman for ECC Ireland. “In some cases, it seems to the consumers that it is in conjunction with a well-known Irish supermarket chain and in other cases, it seems that it is in conjunction with a telecoms provider.” Consumers who fall for this scam agree to pay a small fee to cover the postage of the smartphone to their home -but they never win or receive the phone, and the consumer then finds that further money is taken out of their account without their knowledge or permission.

This paper spoke to a number of people who lost money as a result of this scam. One man explained how he received an email telling him he had won an iPhone and in order to claim his prize, he needed to pay €3.95 in postage. The name and logo of a well-known Irish telecom company was used in the email – leading the man to assume that the email was from this telco. However, the email did not originate from the telco – it had come from a completely different company [the Danish-based website]. The man noticed €3.95 was taken from his account for the ‘postage’ but heard nothing after that. However, a few days later he noticed another €44 had been taken out of his account by the same company.

“When I called the company, I was told I had subscribed to its service,” said the man, who did not wish to be named. “I said I had done no such thing and certainly did not authorise them to take the second payment. They agreed to cancel my ‘subscription’, but refused to give back the money.”

A woman who was duped by a similar scam run by the same company received a text message telling her she had been selected to receive an ‘exclusive reward’. The logo and brand of a well-known supermarket was used in the email, giving the impression that this message was from the retailer. To claim her ‘reward’ (a smartphone), the woman was invited to complete a marketing survey “about her experience” with the supermarket. However, the supermarket had nothing to do with this survey. The woman paid about €3 postage to get her smartphone delivered – only to have another €44 taken from her account a few days later. “I work beside the supermarket and I trust this supermarket – plus the supermarket would have my phone number so I thought it was completely safe,” said the woman. The supermarket however had nothing to do with the messages or the scam.

Romance scam

Romance scams – where an individual feigns romantic interest so they can con someone out of money- are common in the run-up to, and weeks after, Valentine’s Day. “Typically what happens with these scams is that a lonely or vulnerable individual meets someone on an online dating website – and very quickly, the communication starts to take place outside the website, such as through personal emails,” said Davenport. “After a few months, the fraudster might say he or she wants to visit you – but is having difficulty getting a visa. The fraudster will ask you to transfer money to them so they can get their visa.” Another version of this scam is where a request is made by the fraudster for money to pay for the urgent medical treatment of a relative. Like the visa story, this is simply a lie designed to fool people into sending money on.

Technology has made it easier for fraudsters to concoct scams – and to target people. One of the best ways to defend yourself against scams is to be able to recognise them. Hang up the phone, or delete the text or email, if one such scam makes its way to you. Better safe than sorry.

Other scams & what to do if you’re duped

TV Licence & Tax refund scams

Scammers have sent emails to residents in Northern Ireland and the UK in recent months claiming the TV licence authority there has been trying to get hold of individuals to arrange a refund of an overpayment — but due to invalid bank account details, the refund has not been paid. The fraudster requests bank account and personal details so the refund can be paid — but this is simply a ploy to drain money from an individual’s account. UK scams usually make their way to Ireland so watch out for this one. A common version of this scam in Ireland is where fraudulent emails or text messages are sent which purport to come from the Revenue Commissioners — and which request personal and financial information so a tax ‘refund’ can be paid to the individual.

Bank hacking scam

With this scam, you receive a phone call from an individual who claims to be from your bank — or another reputable organisation. During the call, the fraudster will try to trick you into giving personal, banking or security information. They may also convince you to make a money transfer to them or inform you that you have won a prize and need to send money to release it. You may be told there is a problem with your bank account and tricked into believing you must move your money into a ‘safe account’. The safe account however is the fraudster’s account and you’ll lose money if you transfer any into it.

Rental scam

One of the most common rental scams is where the scammer copies genuinely advertised rental accommodation — and then re-advertises that accommodation with their own email or phone number. They will often refuse to show you the property — or will say they’re out of the country and so unable to show it to you. Instead, they send you photos and fake documents or keys in exchange for payment of rent and deposit. You usually don’t realise you’ve been scammed until you arrive at the property to find someone else living there. Another version of this is where the scammer rents a home for a short while. They then advertise it as being available for rent and show potential tenants around while they live there. They agree to rent the house to you, look to collect the deposit along with the first month’s rent — and then disappear with your money.

Cheap iPads

A number of Irish holidaymakers to the Canary Islands have been conned out of thousands after buying ‘cheap’ tablets for around €30. The holidaymaker is typically asked for their bank card details to either buy the tablet or so additional services (such as broadband and software) can be bought to ensure it works correctly. However, some holidaymakers have found thousands have been taken from their accounts after handing over card details.

What to do if you’ve been scammed

Contact your bank immediately. The bank may for example be able to stop a money transfer to a fraudster if it gets to it on time. It may also need to cancel your bank card. Report the fraud to your local Garda station too. “Sometimes if you’re not successful getting a refund of money lost from your bank, you may be able to get a refund from the Garda,“ said Niamh Davenport, of BPFI.

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Bluntness in the office not necessarily a bad thing

Not that long ago a friend sent me a yellowing magazine story about famous Fleet Street editors, with a Post-it note attached saying: “Those were the days.”

I saw what she meant as soon as I read about the late Charles Wintour, a former London Evening Standard editor with a flair for the withering memo. A note he sent to a young unnamed reporter who was begging to be sent to Israel in the 1960s began in a way that is now unthinkable.

“You are the fifth (and least qualified) person who has today asked to go to the Middle East,” he wrote. The paper had already dispatched an experienced foreign correspondent to Israel, he added, and unless shooting seemed imminent, it would be “insane” for a London paper to send anyone else. “I will bear in mind your request for an exciting assignment, but they do not grow on trees to be plucked by hungry young mouths.”

Reading those blunt words, I felt like an archaeologist, stumbling over an ancient artefact revealing the odd ways humans once dealt with one another. It is hard to imagine a manager delivering such tart advice in writing to an underling today, in a newspaper or anywhere else.

Social media
For one thing, social media has empowered employees to fight back in a way that was once impossible. Consider the public humiliation heaped on the boss of a British tech firm the other week after he interviewed a young woman for a job. She took to Twitter to say he had torn her apart in a “brutal” exchange that had left her in tears and made her feel as if she was in a room with an “abusive ex”.

The man quickly apologised, insisting he had never intended to hurt anyone. His company launched an investigation, saying it was satisfied no bullying had occurred but was “saddened” by the incident and would “reflect” on its HR policies.

I have no idea what went on in that interview, nor do I think there is ever an excuse for wanton bullying or witless abuse. Yet it is easy to imagine a modern-day Wintour suffering a similar fate and that is a shame, because his ageing memo contains a number of valuable lessons about working life.

First, a company does not exist purely to please its employees. It will always have wider aims and it is pointless to ignore them. I have always been in favour of the “don’t ask, don’t get” approach. But there is a corollary: do not be surprised if it does not produce instant success.

Second, Wintour was making it clear that ambition does not necessarily equal ability. No matter how frustrated thrusting young workers may feel, there are likely to be times when they will be overlooked for jobs requiring a depth of experience and maturity they lack. It is best to learn early how to deal with this.

Public life
Our tendency to confuse blunt words with unacceptable behaviour has had another sad consequence beyond the office. It robs public life of some of its most delightful moments.

One of my favourite politicians was the late Australian minister Gordon Bilney, who was turfed out at the polls in 1996. Freshly liberated, he wrote to a griping local official in his constituency to say: “One of the great pleasures of private life is that I need no longer be polite to nincompoops, bigots, curmudgeons and twerps who infest local government bodies and committees such as yours. In the particular case of your committee, the pleasure is acute.”

Bilney was a former adviser to the late Australian prime minister Gough Whitlam, who once faced a persistent heckler on the campaign trail who demanded to know his views on abortion. “Let me make quite clear that I am for abortion and, in your case sir, we should make it retrospective.”

Alas, it is hard to think of many politicians today who would be capable of such remarks, let alone willing to make them.

By the way, if you were worried about the fate of that young Evening Standard reporter who was spurned by Wintour, don’t. It turned out to be Max Hastings, a distinguished foreign correspondent who went on to cover 11 wars, write more than 25 books and edit two Fleet Street papers, first the Daily Telegraph and then, as it happens, the Evening Standard itself. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019

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On the money: Ireland’s minimum wage is now the second highest of all EU countries

POLICY makers across developed economies have struggled to lift wages since the great crash – a big factor in the slow return of inflation. While it suits many employers, it’s seen as one reason overall growth remains dangerously sluggish.

Spain’s decision to hike its minimum wage by 22pc, even though unemployment remains high, signals a jump in the minimum wage that’s ignited a debate there about how it will affect the economy.

In Ireland, the government first introduced a minimum wage in 2000, setting it at IR£4.40 (€5.59) per hour.

Last year the rate was €9.55 per hour, but from January 1, 2019, it increased to €9.80, on the back of recommendations from the Low Pay Commission.

This works out at a monthly salary of €1,656.20 for employees on the rate. The increase will benefit 151,800 workers, according to the Department of Social Protection.

Controversially, back in 2010, with the country in the grips of recession and the Troika dominating economic policy making, the then-Fianna Fáil led coalition cut the minimum wage by €1 to €7.65.

However, the following year a Fine Gael/Labour government reversed the cut.

As in many countries, the minimum wage in Ireland differs from what is the so-called living wage, an unofficial measure of the income that allows an employee a basic but socially acceptable standard of living.

The Irish living wage was set at €11.90 per hour last year, 25pc higher than the minimum wage.

Looking at other European countries and, as at January 1 this year, 22 of the 28 EU member states had a minimum wage in place, with monthly salary variations across the countries, from €286 in Bulgaria to €2,071 in Luxembourg.

Ireland is at the higher end of the scale, although different standard working weeks and other variables between countries make direct comparisons difficult.

Compared with January 2009, minimum wages were higher in this year in every EU member state that has a national minimum wage, except in Greece, where they were 16pc lower.

Returning to Spain, and the socialist government says the increase will bolster spending and hiring, giving legs to Spain’s expansion.

But opposition lawmakers and wary business executives say any additional pep to the economy won’t be enough to offset the thousands of jobs they expect to be destroyed because companies can’t afford the jump in costs.

The increase to €1,050 a month came into effect at the start of the year and directly affects about 8pc of Spain’s workforce, or 1.2 million employees. Its effects are already rippling through Spain’s economy, forcing companies to respond.

Spain’s central bank estimates the wage jump could cost 125,000 jobs this year.

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Higher rents and utility bills push consumer prices up

New figures from the Central Statistics Office show that consumer prices rose by 0.7% in January compared to the same time last year.

The CSO said the gain came on the back of higher rents and mortgage interest repayments as well as increases in the price of electricity and gas and higher prices for food and drinks in hotels and restaurants.

On a monthly basis, however, consumer prices fell by 0.7% in January due to sales on clothes and footwear in shops and lower prices for diesel and petrol.

Today’s figures show that prices in restaurants and hotels rose by 3.7% in January on an annual basis on the back of higher prices for alcoholic drinks and food consumed in licensed premises and restaurants.

Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels were up 4.4% on the back of higher rents and mortgage interest repayments as well as higher electricity and gas prices.

However, January saw lower health and motor insurance premiums as well as a fall in prices for appliances, articles and products for personal care.

Transport costs decreased mainly due to a decrease in air fares which was partially offset by an increase in the cost of motor cars and higher prices for passenger transport by road, the CSO added.

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Property prices still rising – but easing rate of increase indicates slight cooling down

Property prices are continuing to rise, but the rate of increase is down indicating a slight cooling down.

New figures from the Central Statistics Office show prices were up by 6.5pc nationally in the year to December.

This compares with an increase of 7.2pc in the year to November and an increase of 12.1pc in the twelve months to December 2017.

However, prices eased back by 0.1pc in the month of December.

Dublin saw prices rise by 3.8pc in the year to December, as the easing off in rises is particularly evident in the capital.

Residential property prices in Ireland excluding Dublin were almost 10pc higher in the year to December.

The region outside of Dublin that saw the largest rise in property prices was the Mid-West at almost 19pc, while the smallest was recorded in the Border at 4.8pc.

Overall, the national index is 18pc lower than its highest level in 2007.

Dublin residential property prices are 21pc lower than their February 2007 peak.

The middle, or median, price paid for a property in December across the country was €260,000. This was up €10,000 on the price paid last November.

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€647m paid out to 39,800 affected tracker mortgage customers

Banks have paid out €647m in redress, compensation and costs to customers caught up in the tracker mortgage controversy, new figures from the Central Bank show.

The number of borrowers identified as being affected by the issue had risen by 1,400 since the end of August to 39,800 by the end of December, the bank said.

The regulator has said the payment of redress and compensation is now largely complete, with 97% of verified customers now having received offers of redress and compensation.

A further €67m has been paid out to customers since the end of August, the bank said.

The six main lenders here have set aside €1bn to compensate customers with tracker mortgages who are found to have been mistreated by the banks.

“The examination has revealed the unacceptable damage that misconduct can cause to consumers up to and including the loss of their homes and properties in some cases,” said Derville Rowland, Director General of Financial Conduct at the Central Bank.

“The Central Bank’s strategic commitment is to elevate the regulation of the behaviour of firms and the operation of financial markets in order to protect consumers.

“The examination was structured to give priority to ensuring affected customers received the redress and compensation payments which they were owed.

“However, our work will continue through the ongoing enforcement investigations.”

The Central Bank said the supervisory phases of its inquiry are now nearing completion, with the final report expected to be published in the coming months.

It said it will continue to “challenge all lenders until it is satisfied that all groups of affected customers have been identified”.

However, the bank also said further work on the issue might result in more affected customers being identified.

All six of the lenders – AIB and its EBS subsidiary, Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank, Permanent TSB and KBC Bank Ireland – are subject to enforcement proceedings by the Central Bank.

The bank said the first of these proceedings will conclude this year.

Among the 39,800 customers identified for refunds and compensation are around 32,700 accepted by lenders as part of the examination, as well as around 7,100 tracker mortgage cases probed by the Central Bank outside of the official examination.

The investigation began in 2015, when the Central Bank ordered lenders to look through their records to identify any customers who had wrongly been moved from or denied tracker mortgages, which follow the ECB main lending rate when it goes up and down.

The controversy is the biggest overcharging controversy in the State’s history.

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Spending by householders flat in January as bills for Christmas arrive

Spending by householders was flat last month as the bills for Christmas arrived.

New figures from the Visa Consumer Spending Index show expenditure in shops was down 5pc in January, but online spending was up almost 10pc.

This meant overall consumer spending was up just 0.01pc in January compared with a year ago.

In a separate survey, one in five people said they were in debt in January because they overspent at Christmas.

The research, commissioned by One4All, found almost half of people say that January is the most difficult month of the year financially.

Visa, which measures spending using cash, cheques and electronic payments, said falling consumer confidence had led spending being pulled back last month.

The index has been showing for months now that shops remain the key source of weakness for household spending.

Visa Ireland’s country manager Philip Konopik said: “Once again, there was a notable contrast between the high street and e-commerce with online retailers recording almost double-digit growth, while the high street saw the sharpest fall in expenditure since we started the index.”

He said the clothing and footwear sector’s challenges have been highlighted after recording a seventh consecutive month where spending declined.

Read more: The world of payments is changing and Ireland has the ability to lead the way – Visa Ireland chief Philip Konopik

There was a fall-back in spending on clothes and footwear, the seventh consecutive month of decline, with a drop of 5pc year on year.

But the purchasing of household goods was up 8.4pc.

A rise in prices in hotels, restaurants and bars, blamed on higher valued added tax being imposed on the hospitality sector, did not hold back spending. There was a 4.4pc increase in expenditure in the month compared with a year ago.

The spending index is compiled by HIS Markit.

Its associate director Andrew Harker said the results indicate that “falling consumer confidence” led to spending being pulled back las t month.

“This is particularly the case on the high street as households head online to search out bargains in an uncertain economic and political environment,” he said.

Meanwhile, a fifth of people were in debt last month because of overspending at Christmas, according to research by gift card issuer One4all.

The financial strain of Christmas is even more significant for people with children.

More than a third of those with kids between the age of six and 12 report that they ran into debt in January after borrowing or using credit cards to pay for Christmas.

The research found that the financial pressure of Christmas causes one in three people to feel anxious or stressed, with this figure increasing for those with children under the age of 12.

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Varadkar expects UK to leave EU with deal but Ireland ‘continues to prepare for all Brexit outcomes’

With 44 days to go until the UK leaves the European Union, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he believes a deal will be reached between the two.

However, he added that Ireland would continue its preparations for all possible outcomes, including a no-deal scenario.

Opening the European Financial Forum in Dublin today, Mr Varadkar also said that Ireland is open to investment, to capital, to trade, to talent and to creativity.

“Our philosophy is to be a leader when it comes to emerging economic, social and technological developments,” he said.

“At a time when attitudes to globalisation, free trade and multilateralism are hardening in much of the world, Ireland is holding firm to liberal political and economic values and policies.”

Meanwhile, the Governor of the Central Bank, Philip Lane, warned that a sudden no-deal Brexit will be “very severe” for the Irish economy.

Addressing the forum, Professor Lane said that if the UK leaves the European Union without a deal on March 29, there would be immediate disruptive effects that would permeate almost all areas of economic activity.

“The agri-food sector would be disproportionately affected, with a corresponding outsized impact on rural regions, especially near the Border.”

“Our modelling work suggest that a disorderly Brexit could reduce the growth rate of the Irish economy by up to four percentage points in the first year,” Professor Lane said.

However, he added that the immediate cliff-edge risks of a hard Brexit have been “largely addressed”, because the work that the Central Bank and others have undertaken.

These include the temporary permission by the European authorities for the UK central securities depository (CSD) to continue to serve Irish securities during the transition to an alternative EU27 CSD arrangement and legislation to provide a temporary run-off regime that will protect insurance customers.

“In terms of financial stability risks, our assessment is that the improvements in the resilience of the financial system over the last decade provide a vitally-important buffer.”

“Taken together, the more balanced macroeconomic profile, the restructuring of the Irish banking system, the much-higher capital and liquidity ratios, the decline in the non-performing loan ratio and the more intrusive supervisory regime mean that the capacity to absorb negative shocks is much greater than in the past,” he added.

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EU court ruling on Belgian tax breaks may affect Apple case

Europe’s second-highest court will rule tomorrow whether a Belgian tax break which benefited some 35 large companies is illegal state aid, a judgment which could provide clues to other tax cases involving Apple, Starbucks and Fiat Chrysler.

As part of its crackdown on tax avoidance, the European Commission three years ago ordered Belgium to recover some €700m from the group, saying the companies’ “excess profit” tax plan gave them an unfair advantage vis-a-vis smaller firms.

The scheme allowed the companies to claim deductions for economies of scale, reducing their corporate tax base by 50pc to 90pc.

Dutch industrial company Magnetrol and Belgium subsequently challenged the Commission’s decision at the Luxembourg-based General Court.

The largest beneficiaries were Wabco, Cellio, BP, BASF, Atlas Copco and Belgacom.

Judges may also rule whether it qualifies as a scheme or are just individual tax rulings.

The tax avoidance drive has included a ruling that Ireland recover €13bn from iPhone maker Apple and Luxembourg to claw back up to €30m from Fiat Chrysler, €250m from Amazon and about €120m from Engie.

All the major companies have challenged the EU rulings. At stake is whether the Commission is over-stretching its powers by using its state aid tool to address tax fairness concerns.

Meanwhile, finance ministers from smaller European Union states yesterday opposed a plan to limit governments’ power to block EU reforms on tax matters, in a move that further reduces the chances of introducing an EU levy on large digital firms.

EU countries with smaller populations – including Ireland – have for years blocked efforts to narrow rules that are claimed to allow tax avoidance. Many of them defend their right to decide their own tax laws and attract foreign business by offering sweeteners.

The EU Commission proposed last month a gradual removal of the veto power states wield on tax rules.

But at the meeting in Brussels, Luxembourg, Malta, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Sweden called for maintaining their veto power.

Opposition from any one of them would sink the Commission plan.

Luxembourg’s Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna was among the most vocal opponents, telling reporters that preserving unanimity over tax decisions was “extremely important”.

Other smaller states, led by Ireland, have blocked a common tax on digital revenues. This has pushed several countries, including France, Italy and Spain, to adopt similar levies at national level, despite risks this could weaken the EU market.

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Anger as credit unions move to lower insurance death benefits

Credit union members have reacted angrily to moves by a number of the lenders to reduce a key insurance benefit.

Most credit unions offer death benefit insurance and share insurance. These provide a payment when the member dies, at no cost to the members.

But the high cost of providing the cover has seen credit unions slash the amount they pay out. This has prompted some frustrated members to threaten to move credit unions.

The insurance cover is seen as a key benefit of credit union membership, particularly for more senior members.

Death benefit insurance is unique to credit unions. A fixed sum is paid when a member dies to help defray funeral expenses. But the cost of the cover has rocketed.

One credit union, Savvi in Dublin, has seen the cost of its cover jump from €1.3m a year to €1.8m within three years.

This prompted it to reduce the death benefit insurance payments from €3,250 to €1,950.

This caused a storm of protest at its annual general meeting last month. The board of directors took a decision to reduce the level of cover without putting it to a vote of members.

Savvi argued the spiralling cost of the cover, along with a reduction in income due to poor investment market returns, meant it was no longer able to afford the same level of cover as before.

The Irish League of Credit Unions said eight of its member credit unions reduced the level of death benefit insurance last year, and seven lowered the cover in 2017.

A spokesperson for the league said reduced investment returns and rising costs, and the need to develop new services, meant some credit unions were reducing the level of death benefit cover.

Death benefit insurance is an optional product that credit unions offer and is subject to change at any time, the league said.

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