More than three-quarters of credit card fraud that occurred in the first half of last year happened when a card was not present, gardaí have revealed.
Fraud totalling €20.8m occurred, 78% of which was due to ‘Card Not Present’ (CNP) fraud, such as during a phone or online transaction.
Gardaí say there has been a sharp rise in card fraud, with one sports retailer targeted 172 times in March alone.
So far this month, one person has been arrested and details of 100 cards have been recovered.
Gardaí from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau are now teaming up with Retail Excellence Ireland in a bid to combat the growing problem of CNP fraud.
The collaboration takes place as part of a broader Europol campaign this month aimed at combating online fraud that arises from compromised card data.
Europol E-Commerce Action Week took place from June 6-16 and saw officers in 23 countries deployed to ‘hotspots’ and take action based on intelligence and investigations.
They are urging shoppers to buy from trusted sources online and never send your pin by email.
Speaking today, Detective Garda Jim O’Meara of the GNECB, said: "We are definitely witnessing a sharp rise in the level of CNP fraud activity in the past 18 months and we would attribute it to the uplift in the economy and a related rise in online shopping.
"This results in greater numbers of consumers being vulnerable to having their payment card details compromised, which are then sold on the darkweb where they can be accessed by criminals who go on to fraud retailers either online, over the phone, or even through mail order transactions.
"Officers from the Economic Crime Bureau recently acted on a number of leads in this area in line with our counterparts across Europe. We were pleased with the results and investigations are continuing.
"Our advice to Irish consumers to help prevent their cards being compromised is to always buy from trusted sources, use credit cards when purchasing things online, never send money upfront to an online seller, and never send your card number PIN or other information to anyone by email.”
Retail Excellence spokesperson Lorraine Higgins said "We are delighted to get behind this initiative to help combat the very new crime of online fraud.
"Our retailers want to ensure consumers can shop online safe in the knowledge their personal and financial details are safe which is exactly why we, as Ireland largest retail representative body, are supporting this initiative.
"With the significant growth in online sales this year whereby €850,000 is being spent every hour by Irish consumers it was clear that ancillary issues would eventually arise.
"Our internal Loss Prevention Group chaired by Harvey Norman’s Michael Neary had flagged this as an issue and took proactive steps which ultimately led to the collaboration between Retail Excellence and the Gardaí.
"Therefore, consumers can be assured that our member retailers are working hard to ensure their security when purchasing goods and services from them.
"We would advise that retailers be vigilant and if you suspect something is not as it seems then do not hesitate to contact An Garda Siochána.”