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Banking federation warns customers to be 'extra vigilant' of online scams in lead-up to Christmas

Figures from the BPFI show €22m was scammed through card fraud alone last year.

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CONSUMERS ARE BEING urged to be extra aware of fraudulent scams in operation in the lead-up to Christmas. 

The Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland (BPFI) today reported figures from across the banking sector which revealed that overall card fraud reached €22 million in 2019. 

The BPFI said that 260,000 fraudulent debit and credit card transactions took place last year and that, despite a significant fall in payment card fraud in recent years, consumers shopping online should  be “extra vigilant” over the coming weeks. 

More than 90% of card fraud took place online, via telephone or mail order, rather than in-store last year, according to the BPFI. 

Brian Hayes, Chief Executive BPFI said today: “Card fraud losses have been on a downward trend over the last three years and in 2019 were at their lowest level since 2012.

“This comes at a time when there has been a significant increase in card usage. The fall in losses can be attributed to a combination of better detection and fraud monitoring systems which banks have put in place, but also to the fact that consumers are becoming more aware of the risks of card fraud and the ways in which they can protect themselves from falling victim.”

Research carried out by the BPFI shows that six out of 10 people say they will do more of their Christmas shopping online this year and that those aged between 18 and 24 are most at-risk of fraud.

According to the federation, 39% of people sometimes or always click on links from social media adverts rather than visiting the relevant website independently. This figure jumped to 59% among those aged 18-24.

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In addition, 35% of people shopping online rarely or never check the security of the website they are shopping while 43% rarely or never read an online retailer’s terms and conditions.

“As Covid restrictions and the pre-Christmas rush draws thousands of shoppers online we are urging all consumers to take extra precautions when shopping online this year,” said Hayes. 

The BPFI has issued guidelines to help consumers avoid card fraud this Christmas:

  • Use secure websites. The website address should be ‘https’ before the purchase is made, indicating a secure connection
  • Use sites where a padlock symbol is shown beside the website address
  • Do not under any circumstances use public Wi-Fi when making payments – switch to 3G/4G on your phone if necessary
  • Independently visit the website of the online sales company as opposed to clicking on social media or pop-up adverts
  • Be cautious about claiming outrageous offers – if it sounds too good to be true it probably is
  • Stick to well-known websites or websites that you are familiar with or websites associated with high street retail outlets

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