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Increase in number of online shopping scams in Ireland; Gardai warns and advises Irish online shoppers

DUBLIN: Gardai alerts all who shop online during COVID-19, following the increasing number of online shopping scams in Ireland.

Gardai said up to 10 million online transactions were made during the 2020 Christmas shopping period. They say there has been a 50% increase in fraud cases reported last year.

The Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) reports that Irish consumers lost a total of €22 million last year on credit and debit card fraud.

Following this, Gardai has given some advice to Irish consumers who shop online:

  • Use secure websites. Make sure the website you are on is real – not cloned or fake. Make sure there is an “https” at the beginning of the web address and a padlock symbol displayed beside the URL before the purchase is made
  • Look for the trust seals. Trust seals are commonly placed on homepages, login pages, and checkout pages. They’re immediately recognisable and they remind visitors that they are secure on this page
  • Know the website’s policy on refunds and know your consumer rights
  • Where selling platforms offer an official, safe way of paying, use this rather than sending money directly to a third party, you can also use an online payment option like PayPal, which can protect you
  • Check their payment methods and never transfer money directly or pay cash
  • 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 deal in crypto currency that should send up a red flag. The majority of the time, those methods are done to avoid scrutiny and ensure that a transaction can’t be reversed
  • Always keep a record of your purchase, print or save a copy of your order. Ensure you read the terms and conditions associated with any purchase
  • Be careful about cut-price offers – if it sounds too good to be true it probably is
  • Do not under any circumstances use public Wi-Fi when making payments – switch to 3G/4G on your phone if necessary

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