The golden rules for online shopping as Gardaí report increase in fraud

galway daily news online shopping

Gardaí have issued a number of ‘golden rules’ for online shopping in the run-up to Christmas.

Victims can be defrauded in a number of ways, including items not being delivered, and counterfeit goods being delivered.

Fraudsters can also make their own purchases with the victim’s credit or debit card if they have their details.

Between 1 January and 31 October this year, 550 instances of online shopping fraud were reported to An Garda Síochána.

The average loss was €1,537 per incident, representing an overall loss to Irish citizens of over €845,000.

The business community is frequently targeted by fraudsters using stolen or compromised credit cards, bank accounts or payments, in what is called card not present fraud.

Businesses who are victims of this fraud will suffer losses under the ‘charge back’ process.

In the first 10 months of 2022, 1,356 card not present frauds were reported to Gardaí, with victims losing a total of €1,300,500.

Golden rules for online shopping

Buy from trusted sources. Make sure the website you are on is real, and 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 – this indicates a secure connection. URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. A URL is nothing more than the address of a given unique resource on the Web.

Look for the trust seals to determine the website is real. Trust seals are commonly placed on homepages, login pages, and checkout pages. They’re immediately recognizable and they remind visitors that they are secure on this page. You can click on them to see if they are real.

Know the website’s policy on refunds and know your consumer rights. They are protected if proper site used
Where selling platforms offer an official, safe way of paying, use this rather than sending money directly to a third party – otherwise use an online payment option such as PayPal, which helps to protect you.
Check their payment methods – it should be credit cards. Never transfer money direct or pay cash. Ensure data transfer is secure.
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 deals in cryptocurrency, 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.
Don’t enter into off site communication for a lower cash price.
Never purchase through social media or where the ‘offer’ came to you via social media.
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.