Gardaí issue online shopping warning in run-up to Black Friday
Consumers and retailers are being urged to take precautions in run-up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the busiest online shopping events of the season.
An Garda Síochána in association with the FraudSMART, a fraud awareness initiative led by Banking & Payments Federation Ireland, are urging consumers and retailers to shop and sell online safely and to protect their financial and personal details with the approach of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Detective Superintendent Gerard Walsh of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau said: "Buying online is a very convenient way to shop particularly in the busy run up to Christmas however shopping safely online is not a given, as there are inherent risks.
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.
She said: "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.
"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."
An Garda Síochána’s top tips for shopping online this week and in the run up to Christmas include:
• Do your research; only buy from trusted sources, shops or brands that you are familiar with. Use websites that your friends, family or colleagues have used before.
• Do not click on links or adverts from social media. Independently go to the website offering the deal. This will ensure you are not shopping on a fake website.
• Think twice before allowing e-merchant stores to store your payment details
• Read terms and conditions and make sure you are not committing to a series of recurring payments especially where free trials are offered.
• Always save all documents related to your online purchases.
• When purchasing something online from another person, do not send money up front
• Use a secure website. Look for the padlock symbol and the ‘S’ in HTTPS.
• Never send your Card number, PIN or any other card information to anyone by email
• Don’t use public Wi-Fi when making payments, always switch to 3G/4G
• Regularly check statements and transactions for any frauds or suspicious activity
• If you have a suspicion about an online transaction check your account online to ascertain if the payment was made to the genuine retailer.
• Report suspicious transactions to your local Garda station and to your bank or card processor.
They also outlined the steps which retails should consider during this busy Christmas period:
Advice for Online Retailers
Retailers can also be the target of online frauds when it comes to purchases of goods online. Compromised credit cards or 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 the delivery and billing addresses are the same.
• Check addresses and usernames online using Google to see if there are 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
• Don’t hesitate to contact the customer by phone and ask them to confirm their payment details such as card number, bank name, card expiry date etc. Genuine customers will usually know these details immediately.
For further advice/information see www.garda.ie for crime prevention advice and contact details of local Garda Stations.
See www.FraudSMART.ie for advice of fraud prevention.