December 2016 saw an increase of 15.4% in online purchases2
with over 50% of Irish people shopping online3, most of whom purchased or sold goods and services with no difficulty. However, in a small number of cases difficulties do arise and fraud results in users losing money or having their credit/debit card details being compromised.
Cyber Monday and Christmas is a time when consumers switch to online forums to get the last minute or cheap purchase. Goods that aren’t available in stores can be found online, sometimes at cheaper prices; all of which increases the attraction of online shopping. Anyone shopping on the Internet should take greater precautions when purchasing goods online then they would when they purchase in shops. An online marketplace doesn’t have the security of being face to face contact with seller in a known physical location.
If shopping online, local Gardai in Donegal have urged shoppers to follow the 12 Golden Rules of Safe Online Shopping.
– Only buy from trusted sources or brands that you are familiar with
– Use credit cards when purchasing things online
– Make sure the data transfer is appropriately protected. Look for the padlock symbol
– Think twice before allowing e-merchant stores to store your payment details
– Be aware how to control the recurring charge if paying for a continuous service online
– Always save all documents related to your online purchases
– If you are not buying a specific product or service, don’t submit your car details
– Avoid doing your online shopping at sites that don’t use full authentication
– Never send your card number, PIN or any other card information to anyone by email
– When purchasing something online from another person, do not send money up front
– Never send your card details in an unencrypted email
– Don’t send money to anyone you don’t know online
The Gardai reminded online shoppers also to regularly check statements and transactions for any fraud or suspicious activity and to report any suspicious transactions to your local Garda station as well as your bank or card processor.
Advice for Online Retailers
Retailers can also be the target of online frauds when it comes to purchases or goods online.
Compromised credit cards of 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 delivery and billing addresses are the same.
– Check addresses and usernames online using Google to see if 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
– 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
For further advice or information please visit www,europol.europa.eu, www.gardai.ie, wwwbpfi.ie or www.thecal.ie/your-rights.