A total of €22 million in credit and debit card fraud losses were made on Irish consumers in 2020, according to data from the Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI).
An Garda Síochána has warned of such online shopping fraud after a 50% increase in crimes was reported in 2020.
Online shopping fraud is where the buyer does not receive the goods after making payments, receives fake or counterfeit goods or goods not as described.
The seller can also be conned, having sent their goods and not receiving payment.
This has become more prevalent during the current pandemic as more and more people are shopping online.
The Advice from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) is to use secure websites and make sure the website is real by checking for ‘https’ at the beginning of the web address and a padlock symbol displayed beside the URL before making a purchase.
People are being encouraged to always look for trust seals that are commonly placed on homepages, login pages, and checkout pages and to know the website’s policy on refunds, and to know their consumer rights.
Where selling platforms offer an official and safe way of paying, people are encouraged to use this rather than sending money directly to a third party.
People have also been advised to always keep a record of purchases, to be mindful of cut-price offers that seem too good to be true, and to never use public Wi-Fi when making payments.
Gardaí have also warned the paying customer to be wary of auction sites and to be particularly careful when buying from people with little or no selling history.
The advice from the GNECB is to not to enter off-site communication for a lower cash price, not to purchase through social media, to be wary of offers from strangers, and to check for poor English and spelling or grammar mistakes.
Gardaí have warned about using direct banking transactions to pay for goods and advised people to check the IBAN of the bank the seller wants them to send money to and said that a good indicator is if the bank they are paying into is in a different country to where the proposed location of the seller or goods are.
IBAN numbers can be checked on all search engines at https://www.iban.com/iban-checker which will tell people the country and address of the bank.
People are also advised to do some research if the seller is unknown to them. Making a call to authenticate their phone number and business and checking if they have a physical address is advised.