Wednesday 11 December 2019

Black Friday bargain hunters warned to buy only from secure websites

Some €4bn is expected to be spent online with payment cards this month and next. Stock image
Some €4bn is expected to be spent online with payment cards this month and next. Stock image
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

SHOPPERS going online in search of bargains on Black Friday and Cyber Monday have been warned to buy only from secure websites.

An Garda Síochána and the Banking and Payments Federation teamed up to tell consumers to make sure the website they buy from has the padlock symbol on display and “https”, indicating a secure connection.

The banking body, which is behind the FraudSmart initiative, said some €4bn is expected to be spent online with payment cards this month and next.

It said fraudsters will be attempting to lure consumers into parting with their money.

Head of fraud prevention at FraudSmart Olivia Buckley said online spending is expected to represent around a third of overall expenditure on payment cards in November and December.

“Almost €12bn was spent using cards between November and December last year, with well over €4bn of that spend accounted for by e-commerce.”

Online buying is growing rapidly in this country.

In the first nine months of the year some €41.3bn of purchases were made with cards, with some €20bn of that spending carried out online.

Online spending has almost doubled from the same period in 2015, she said.

Ms Buckley added: “In the region of 75pc 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.”

The most popular goods purchased online are clothes and sportswear, along with household goods.

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.”

He said 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.

FraudSMART and An Garda Síochána said online shoppers should only use secure websites. The website address should be “https” before the purchase is made, indicating a secure connection.

Online buyers were also told to use sites where a padlock symbol is shown beside the website address.

The advice is to not under any circumstances use public wi-fi when making payments – switch to 3G/4G on your phone if necessary.

Shoppers were also told to independently visit the website of the online sales company as opposed to clicking on social media or pop-up adverts.

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