Black Friday warning to shoppers: Don’t get hooked by phishing fraudsters

Black Friday warning to shoppers: Don’t get hooked by phishing fraudsters
Black Friday sales: gardaí and fraud experts are warning shoppers to be savvy when it comes to grabbing a bargain.

GARDAÍ are warning people to be savvy and smart when shopping online ahead of Black Friday tomorrow and Cyber Monday.

Detective Sergeant Clodagh O’Sullivan has urged people to be careful with their money and to make sure they know where they are buying from.

She was commenting as gardaí and FraudSMART came together to appeal to consumers and retailers to be security conscious ahead of the online sales bonanza.

Online Shopping: €15.5bn spent online by Irish shoppers last year.
Online Shopping: €15.5bn spent online by Irish shoppers last year.

FraudSMART is a fraud awareness campaign led by the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland.

Last year, there was €15.5 billion spent online by Irish shoppers, with a total of €46.5 billion spent in total through Irish-issued credit and debit cards. There has been a reduction in card fraud, down from €45.2 million in 2016 to €29 million last year.

However, Det Sgt O’Sullivan said shoppers still need to be wary. She warned: “Fraud is happening all the time.”

Niamh Davenport, leading the FraudSMART programme for Banking & Payments Federation Ireland, advised consumers and businesses that taking simple steps can make all the difference when shopping or selling online.

“While Black Friday provides consumers with a great chance to grab a bargain, it can also open up the perfect opportunity for scammers and hackers,” she said.

“It is often a simple or easy measure that people can take to protect against fraud and it is important that consumers know these to avoid being vulnerable to fraudsters.”

Gardaí said that “phishing, vishing and smishing” are the most common frauds.

A spokesman said: “Phishing is where criminals send unsolicited emails to individuals which purport to have been sent from genuine businesses or individuals.

“The purpose of these emails is to induce the individuals to reveal personal information such as payment card details, bank account numbers and personal security data.

“Phishing emails usually appear to have been sent from financial institutions and instruct the recipient to follow a link to a fraudulent website which requests personal and financial information be inputted.”

He added: “Vishing or Voice Phishing is the criminal practice of using social engineering techniques over the phone in order to obtain the personal, financial or security data from individuals. Social engineering can be described as human to human interaction which attempts to exploit vulnerabilities in human nature in an attempt to obtain personal information.”

And he said: “Smishing or SMS Phishing is a phishing attack whereby a mobile phone user receives an SMS (text) message which purports to have been sent from a genuine business or individual. This message attempts to induce the recipient to follow a link to a website which appears to be legitimate but in under the control of the criminal organisation. This website then requests personal and financial information to be inputted.”

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