Consumers warned about potential scammers ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday

GARDAƍ are urging consumers and retailers to take all necessary precautions in the run up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

This time of year sees a large increase in purchases being made online as people try to secure the good deals on offer ahead of the Christmas period.

In conjunction with the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland’s (BPFI) FraudSmart initiative, Gardaí have issued advice to help make sure you don’t fall prey to scammers when you’re trying to get a deal.

According to data from the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland, only 57% of people use credible websites when shopping on their mobile phone.

Social media is used to inspire purchases for 38% of people, but this rises to 94% for 18-24 year olds.

Card fraud costs Irish debit and credit card holders €29 million last year.

The top tips for shopping online focus around:

Be Informed

  • Do your research; only buy from trusted sources, shops or brands that you are familiar with. Use websites that your friends, family or colleagues have used before.
  • Do not click on links or adverts from social media. Independently go to the website offering the deal. This will ensure you are not shopping on a fake website.
  • Think twice before allowing e-merchant stores to store your payment details

Be Alert

  • Read terms and conditions and make sure you are not committing to a series of recurring payments especially where free trials are offered.
  • Always save all documents related to your online purchases.
  • When purchasing something online from another person, do not send money up front

Be Secure

  • Use a secure website. Look for the padlock symbol and the ‘S’ in HTTPS.
  • Never send your Card number, PIN or any other card information to anyone by email
  • Don’t use public Wi-Fi when making payments, always switch to 3G/4G

REMEMBER

  • Regularly check statements and transactions for any frauds or suspicious activity
  • If you have a suspicion about an online transaction check your account online to ascertain if the payment was made to the genuine retailer.
  • Report suspicious transactions to your local Garda station and to your bank or card processor.

Common ways criminals can obtain payment card details include phishing – where criminals send unsolicited emails to individuals which appear to be from genuine businesses or individuals to try to get you to reveal your payment card details. Vishing is a version of this which occurs over the phone.

Retailers can also be the target of online fraud and Gardaí also had advice for sellers to help them avoid incurring losses. This includes being cautious with purchases using credit/debit cards issued overseas and in a different name than the purchaser, and being aware around any bulk purchasing of gift cards and guest logins rather than creating accounts.

Article supplied by the Crime Prevention Officer Dun Laoghaire Rathdown

Article Published: 22/11/2018