Here's how to shop safely online, according to the Gardaí

An Garda Síochána have issued some safety tips for consumers shopping online in the run-up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

The guidelines, issued in association with the FraudSMART, a fraud awareness initiative led by Banking & Payments Federation Ireland, outlines how shoppers can protect their financial and personal details while shopping on the internet.

Detective Superintendent Gerard Walsh of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau said: "Buying online is a very convenient way to shop particularly in the busy run-up to Christmas.

"However, shopping safely online is not a given, as there are inherent risks.

"It is vital that people exercise caution when shopping online and follow the fraud prevention advice provided.”

    An Garda Síochána’s top tips for shopping online include:

  • Be Informed:

  • Do your research; only buy from trusted sources, shops or brands that you are familiar with. Use websites that your friends, family or colleagues have used before.
  • Do not click on links or adverts from social media. Independently go to the website offering the deal. This will ensure you are not shopping on a fake website.
  • Think twice before allowing e-merchant stores to store your payment details
  • Be Alert:
  • Read terms and conditions and make sure you are not committing to a series of recurring payments especially where free trials are offered.
  • Always save all documents related to your online purchases.
  • When purchasing something online from another person, do not send money up front
  • Be Secure:
  • Use a secure website. Look for the padlock symbol and the ‘S’ in HTTPS.
  • Never send your Card number, PIN or any other card information to anyone by email
  • Don’t use public Wi-Fi when making payments, always switch to 3G/4G
  • Regularly check statements and transactions for any frauds or suspicious activity
  • If you have a suspicion about an online transaction check your account online to ascertain if the payment was made to the genuine retailer.
  • Report suspicious transactions to your local Garda station and to your bank or card processor.

Niamh Davenport, of the FraudSMART programme, said: "While Black Friday provides consumers with a great chance to grab a bargain, it can also open up the perfect opportunity for scammers and hackers. It is often a simple or easy measure that people can take to protect against fraud and it is important that consumers know these to avoid being vulnerable to fraudsters.”

- Digital Desk

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