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Avoiding The Dangers Of Safe Supply Fraud

Safe Supply Fraud Is Big Business


The vast majority of retail businesses and offices operating in Ireland use safes, vaults, data safes or fire-resistant filing cabinets in their daily operations and a large percentage of the general public have a safe in their home. Safes, vaults, data safes or fire-resistant filing cabinets are used to protect cash, goods as well as critical records and data.

Since the introduction of the GDPR it is now mandatory for all businesses, at a minimum, to have a data cabinet or fire-resistant filing cabinet to protect paper records containing client data from fire and unauthorised access.

What most people don’t realise is a large part of the safe, vault, data safe and fire-resistant filing cabinet market in Ireland is still in second-hand and mostly uncertified units. Many of these units having been re-sprayed and relabelled to look like they just left the factory. These uncertified and dated units are often misrepresented as having insurance or fire ratings based on a range of totally unaccredited certifications, badges and “insurance listings”.

More worryingly, as many of these units were manufactured before European certification, a large proportion of these safes, vaults, data safes and fire-resistant filing cabinets also contain dangerous substances, most notably asbestos.

Apart from the trade in second-hand equipment of this kind there is a huge trade in counterfeit safes and data cabinets, counterfeit deposit systems, counterfeit certification or brand badges, unaccredited certification badges and fake insurance ratings.

Safe, vault and data cabinet fraud leaves businesses and individuals at risk of significant risk of;

  • Exposure to asbestos due “as new” second-hand equipment.
  • Contamination of client records and data with asbestos particles.
  • Losses due to insurance cover being declared void due to counterfeit standards.
  • Loss of GDPR related records through unlawful destruction due to fire.
  • Data Protection penalties resulting from uncertified protection of data.
  • Loss due to counterfeit barrier material in safes, cabinets and fire-resistant filing cabinets.

The victims of this type of fraud are of course clients of safe suppliers and the insurance industry. The beneficiaries, both criminals engaged in break-ins and robbery of commercial or residential premises and of course the criminals who sell uncertified or counterfeit safes, vaults and data cabinets under false pretences to undercut honest suppliers while maximising profit.

It is also a fact that some quite prominent safe suppliers in the industry in Ireland have served time in jail for fraud yet continue operating unscrupulous safe and vault supply businesses completely free from regulation and scrutiny of any kind.


1. Don't Buy Secondhand Without Proof Of Certification And Absence Of Asbestos.

Don't Buy Second Hand Without Proof Of Certification - Never accept a second hand safe without its certification badge or certificate.

Despite the legality regarding asbestos being quite clear, safe, fire cabinets and vaults that the Health And Safety Authority (HSA), the Irish Safes Ratings Group (ISRG), the European Security Systems Association (ESSA), Chubb Safes Ireland and Certified Safes Ireland™ have notified are likely or certain to contain asbestos, are still being sold into Ireland’s unregulated safe and vault market on a daily basis.


2. Don't Buy A Safe With Unaccredited Certification Or No Certification

Unaccredited Certification for safes, fire cabinets or vaults is still a widespread problem in Ireland. There are a wide range of "certificates" or "approvals" available from official sounding bodies but there are only a handful of bodies who have the required European accreditation to ISO/IEC 17065:2012 for certifying safes in Europe. Currently the European accredited certifiers are ECB-S, VdS, CNPP & SBSC.

Two prominent examples of badges mistaken for accredited certification in Ireland are:

Certified By LPCB (UK) - This U.K. body which is part of the BRE is not accredited by UKAS to ISO/IEC 17065:2012 to certify safes. This badge is therefore of no relevance to insurance rates for safes in the Republic of Ireland. Some insurance brokers may not realise that LPCB is unaccredited to this standard as a certifier for safes even in the U.K. but the final responsibility for ensuring the safe is what it claims to be lies with the client and the safe supplier.

A.I.S. Approved - A U.K. organisation who do not claim to be a certification body. The A.I.S. produce a list of approved safes and distribute A.I.S. stickers to the industry in the U.K. however the opinion of the A.I.S. is of no relevance to insurance rates for safes in the Republic of Ireland and should not be relied upon even as a guide to safe identity.


3. Don't Buy A Safe From A Seller Who Quotes Fake Insurance Rates

Irish Safes Ratings Group (ISRG) Rates Are The Only Genuine Insurance Guide Rates For Safes In Ireland. Having been sourced directly from the Republic of Ireland's insurance industry the I.S.R.G. rates are the official rates for certified safes and vaults recognised by An Garda Síochána and The European Security Systems Association. A supplier who displays higher rates or does not stipulate that an alarm may be a condition of cover is misleading clients. For further information on this please visit: www.isrg.ie


4. Don't Buy An S1 or S2 EN14450 Secure Cabinet If You Want Insurance Cover

The “Secure Cabinet” standard EN11450 was introduced in Europe in 2005 and was intended as a standard for light secure cabinets used in a domestic setting. This standard was only developed to assure a user of these units that the locking mechanism and construction were consistent with the most basic needs of secure storage. The EN14450 Secure Cabinet standard makes it clear that S1 & S2 units are not certified safes yet these units are often marketed by unscrupulous dealers as "safes" and are assigned unsubstantiated cash covers. S1 &S2 Secure Cabinets have no insurance rating in the Republic of Ireland


5. Don't Buy An Underfloor Safe If You Expect Insurance Cover

No underfloor safe has passed European testing and it is unlikely any safe ever will. The main protection against attack for the underfloor safe is the concrete around it. As this is down to the fitting there is no way to gauge it's effectiveness. It is also unlikely this would be greater than an entry level safe at best.


6. Don't Buy An Overnight Safe Fitted With A Pneumatic Tube System

Uncertified deposit facilities, letter slots, drum deposits or capsule deposits are all signs of an uncertified safe. A properly certified deposit safe should display a certification badge to standard EN1143-2. In the case of the pneumatic tube or capsule deposit, because a hole has been cut into the safe (usually around 65mm) the safe certification couldn’t possibly be still valid as the safe's barrier material has been extensively breached. A 65mm hole is large enough to easily remove capsules without attacking the actual safe.


7. Don't Buy From Anyone You Who's Expertise Can't Be Verified

Fraud is still quite common in the safe business. You'd be surprised how many prominent safe sellers hide their identity and location with good reason. If you can't find the director's name and find that background and contact information on the business is limited or vague, this should be a red flag. A lack of transparency in qualifications, product certification, location or identity should be a good indication of a problem. Either of knowledge or professionalism. A professional safe supplier will always be able to provide documentation to back up claims.


8. Don't Buy A Safe Without Having It Correctly Installed & Anchored

If a safe hasn’t been anchored and fitted correctly the safe’s resistance to attack is compromised. Incorrect fitting can also negatively impact a safe’s fire protection. There is of course also the fact that an unbolted safe can often quite easily be removed from its location and attacked at a criminal’s leisure. For all of these reasons and more a unbolted safe is not covered by insurance.


9. Don't Buy From Anyone Who Uses Misleading Terms

The term Bankers grade or Euro grade by themselves mean nothing. Recommended cash cover is only relevant if its a recommendation from the Irish Safes Rating Group otherwise its anybody's guess who's doing the "recommending". A grade is only relevant if it's awarded by an accredited European test house. Experience is only relevant if its experience doing the right thing. Terms like these used without reference to actual European standards or documented evidence are usually used to elicit confidence and should be another red flag.


10. Don't Buy A Safe That Uses Keys Or A Mechanical Safe Locking System

Mechanical Safe Locks Are Dangerous (Think About It) - If it is possible to access a mechanical safe or vault lock by non invasive manipulation and in doing so leave no trace of entry then how can this lock type by definition be called secure?

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