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Gardaí warn of online shopping fraud after 50% increase in reported crimes

Gardaí said today that up to 10 million online transactions were carried out over the Christmas shopping period.

GARDAÍ HAVE ISSUED advice for people shopping online during Covid-19 after an increase in fraudulent activity. 

There was a total of €22 million in credit and debit cards fraud losses on Irish consumers in 2020, according to the Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI). 

Gardaí said today that up to 10 million online transactions were carried out over the Christmas shopping period with a 50% increase in reported crimes in 2020. 

Gardaí have issued the following advice to consumers today:

• Use secure websites. Make sure the website you are on is real – not cloned or fake. Make sure there is an “https” at the beginning of the web address and a padlock symbol displayed beside the URL before the purchase is made – this indicates a secure connection.

• Look for the trust seals – Trust seals are commonly placed on homepages, login pages, and checkout pages. They’re immediately recognizable and they remind visitors that they are secure on this page.

• Know the website’s policy on refunds and know your consumer rights. They are protected if proper site used.

• Where selling platforms offer an official, safe way of paying, use this rather than sending money directly to a third party – otherwise use an online payment option such as PayPal, which helps to protect you.

• Check their payment methods – should be credit cards. Never transfer money direct or pay cash.

• If a website is asking you to send money to a random PayPal address, wire it by Western Union, pay in iTunes gift cards or only deals in cryptocurrency, that should send up a red flag. The majority of the time, those methods are done to avoid scrutiny and ensure that a transaction can’t be reversed.

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• Always keep a record of your purchase, print or save a copy of your order. Ensure you read the terms and conditions associated with any purchase.

• Be careful about cut-price offers – if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

• Do not under any circumstances use public Wi-Fi when making payments – switch to 3G/4G on your phone if necessary.

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