Online shopping fraud is an increasing trend in the run up to Christmas, the gardaí have warned.
Also called purchase fraud, victims can be scammed in a number of ways. Typical methods include goods not being delivered at all, or the goods delivered are counterfeit or not what was advertised.
In some instances, fraudsters who now have the victim’s credit and debit card details use them to make their own purchases.
Some 550 online shopping frauds were reported to gardaí during the period from January 1 this year to October 31. The average loss was €1,537 per incident representing an overall loss to Irish citizens of €845,093.31.
The business community are frequently targeted by fraudsters using stolen or compromised credit cards, bank accounts or payments, in what is called Card Not Present Fraud. Businesses who are victims of this fraud will suffer losses under the ‘charge back’ process.
In the first 10 months of 2022, 1,356 Card Not Present Frauds were reported in Ireland, representing an average loss of €959 or a total of €1,300,527.00.
Gardaí are advising consumers to always buy from trusted sources, and to verify that the website is real.
“Know the website’s policy on refunds and know your consumer rights,” said a spokesperson. “They are protected if a proper site is 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.
"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.
"Do not under any circumstances use public Wi-Fi when making payments.”