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Beware online shopping scams in run up to Christmas 28.11.19

AN Garda Siochana and FraudSMART are warning people in Inishowen to be extremely cautious and alert to online scams targeting consumers in the run up to Christmas.
Over €4 billion of online purchases using cards are expected between November and December and consumers are warned to make purchases using only secure websites.
FraudSMART, a fraud awareness initiative led by Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) and supported by An Garda Síochána, have issued a strong warning to thousands of consumers to be extra cautious in their online activity on Black Friday and Cyber Monday and to make purchases using only secure websites, where ‘https’ and a padlock symbol are on display.
Detective Chief Superintendent Pat Lordan of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau said "As the pre-Christmas rush draws thousands of shoppers online, we urge that people be aware of the potential for fraud, whether they are buying or selling a product. People should be particularly careful when high value products are offered at prices significantly under market value and when there is a demand for payment in advance to a person or entity that are not known or not clearly identifiable”.
Olivia Buckley, Head of Fraud Prevention FraudSMART, said "Almost €12 billion was spent using cards between November and December last year, with well over €4 billion of that spend accounted for by e-commerce. Purchasing online is growing amongst Irish consumers; €41.3bn of purchases were made with cards in the first nine months of this year alone with some €20.1bn of that spending carried out online, almost double the amount for the same period in 2015.”
Ms. Buckley also said: "In the region of 75% of all card fraud occurs online, so serious caution is required when purchasing goods or services. The large volumes of online purchases expected to be made this week means fraudsters will be attempting to lure consumers into fraudulent websites, while posing as authentic suppliers.”

Here are some critical pieces of advice that consumers should follow to help protect their finances and bank account.

• Use secure websites. The website address should be ‘https’ before the purchase is made, indicating a secure connection
• 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

Consumers can get advice on how to avoid fraud by visiting www.FraudSMART.ie .
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