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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.
Mar 11th 2021, 9:58 AM 15,738 18

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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Cónal Thomas

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