Gardaí have issued critical advice to help members of the public avoid being scammed when online this Christmas.
More online shopping and parcel deliveries carry a potential risk of losing personal and payment data, the authorities warn, as they ask shoppers to follow key tips to protect their details:
- Only use secure sites and make sure you are on the real site. Check the URL and look for the trust seals
- Use trusted payment methods and never send cash
- Use sites where a padlock symbol is shown beside the website address
- Do not under any circumstances use public Wi-Fi when making payments – switch to 3G/4G on your phone if necessary
- Independently visit the website of the online sales company as opposed to clicking on social media or pop-up adverts
- Be cautious about claiming outrageous offers – if it sounds too good to be true it probably is
- Stick to well-known websites or websites that you are familiar with or websites associated with high street retail outlets
Gardaí are also advising the public to never click on an unsolicited text or email, never give away personal data like your PIN, card numbers or passwords, and to not respond to such emails or texts. Instead, Gardaí would advise the public to take a screenshot of the text/email, delete it, and report it to your local Garda Station.
Gardaí would also like to advise the public to never open attachments in unsolicited emails and to make sure your computer has the most up-to-date anti-virus software installed. Be weary of unsolicited phone calls.
Any person who wishes to donate to any charities over this Christmas period is asked being warned to be weary of unsolicited requests and only ever donate to legitimate, recognised charities.
A spokesperson said: “If you encounter a person claiming to be from a charity, look to see their ID and collection permit. If in doubt, do not contribute and contact Gardaí.”