Gardai have issued a warning to consumers in the midst of one of the busiest online shopping periods of the year.
Black Friday weekend sales and Cyber Monday discounts are in full swing across online stores. Gardai warn that, in a small number of cases, online shopping fraud can losing money or having their credit/debit card details being compromised.
A 12-Step guide to Safe Online Shopping has been published with key Crime Prevention advice for all shoppers:
- 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. Report suspicious transactions to your local Garda station and to your bank or card processor.
Gardai have also provided advice for Online Retailers, who can also be the target of frauds when it comes to purchases or goods online:
- Compromised credit cards of requests to pay for goods and services using money transfer services can result in significant losses for online sellers. To avoid those losses, some basic steps should be kept in mind by online retailers and private sellers.
- Beware of any purchases of bulk items or large quantities of the items or random goods
- Check any purchases of high-value goods or goods that can easily be resold
- Be cautious with purchases using credit/debit cards issues overseas or in a different name than the purchaser
- Check that delivery and billing addresses are the same.
- Check addresses and usernames online using Google to see if any reports or complaints.
- Require postcodes with addresses. Use Google maps to make sure the address is correct
- Be cautious of bulk purchases of gift cards and guest logins rather than users creating accounts
- Small cost purchases followed by larger purchases by the same user could indicate someone testing a compromised card
- If you capture IP addresses check them online to see where they are registered. If the billing/delivery address is in a different country, this could indicate a problem
Further advice/information is available on:
www.europol.europa.eu for advice on crime and golden rules of safe online shopping
www.garda.ie for crime prevention advice and contact details of local Garda Stations
www.bpfi.ie for advice on banking and payments (or you bank’s website)
https://thecai.ie/your-rights Consumer Association of Ireland re online shopping rights