Gardaí issue online shopping warning ahead of Christmas rush
An Garda Síochána, in association with the Banking & Payments Federation of Ireland and Retail Excellence, have launched the S.O.S. (Safe Online Shopping) campaign ahead of the Christmas shopping rush.
In advance of Black Friday and Cyber Monday on November 27, the public and retailers are reminded to shop and sell online safely, making every effort to protect their financial and personal details.
Sergeant Kelvin Courtney of the Garda Crime Prevention National Centre of Excellence said: "Cyber Monday and the run up to Christmas is a time when increased numbers of consumers go online to get the last minute deal."
€13.2 billion was spent online by Irish consumers in 2016, and Sergeant Courtney has said that, "shopping online is safe so long as we use our credit/debit cards correctly. We are asking people to take greater precautions when shopping online then they would if purchasing in the shops.”
Customers are warned to use reputable retailers and to be wary and research brands or websites not known to them or others.
He also issued the top tips for avoiding online fraud this Christmas:
- Only buy from trusted sources, shops or brands that you are familiar with
- Use credit cards when purchasing things online
- Make sure the data transfer is appropriately protected. Look for the padlock symbol Think twice before allowing e-merchant stores to store your payment details
- Be aware how to control the recurring charge if paying for a continuous service online
- Always save all documents related to your online purchases.
- If you are not buying a specific product or service, don’t submit your card details
- Avoid doing your online shopping at sites that don’t use full authentication
- Never send your Card number, PIN or any other card information to anyone by email
- When purchasing something online from another person, do not send money up front
- Never send your card details in an unencrypted email
- Don’t send money to anyone you don’t know online
- 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.
Detective Superintendent Michael Gubbins, Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau, went on to explain: "An Garda Síochána and its partners in Europol are actively targeting cybercrimes such as online fraud. The public need to be aware that the proceeds from these fraudulent activities go to fund organised criminal gangs.”