Online fraud costs shoppers €25.7m

Irish consumers have been urged to make sure they do not become victims of online fraud this April Fool’s Day, after shoppers were cheated out of a combined €25.7m during last year.

Figures revealed by leading payment service provider Sage Pay show the massive sum of money was effectively stolen from the public as a result of online transactions in 2012.

Since the start of last year, almost 75% of credit and debit card frauds in Ireland have been connected to online transactions.

And with the method of sale becoming more and more popular in the modern era, Sage Pay has chosen the upcoming April Fool’s date to remind the public to protect themselves from being scammed.

“When shopping online consumers need to be vigilant,” said Sage Pay managing director Sean Wilson.

“With the introduction of 3D secure [a system that guarantees any deals are verified by Visa or Mastercard], the risk of online fraud has decreased.

“However, online scams still exist, with offers to win iPads in exchange for credit card details.”

In an attempt to help the public from being targeted by online criminals, Sage Pay has put forward a series of protection tips.

However, Mr Wilson said customers must still be on the look out for potential risks in the online shopping world.

Generally, if someone becomes the target of credit card fraud, they or their bank will notice a number of “test” attempts by fraudsters trying to access their money.

These will most likely appear as small sums of money being taken out of a person’s account on a number of occasions within a short space of time.

If these exchanges are not identified, fraudsters will generally attempt to remove ever larger amounts of money, which pose the risk of gaining more attention from the potential victim or their bank.

Due to the increasing risk of credit card fraud in Ireland, financial institutions are continually seeking to improve their own security network for their customers.

Avoid fraud

Tips for preventing online credit or debit card fraud:

*If you are buying an item online, make sure the web page changes from HTTP to HTTPS before purchasing.

*Remember that the web page is only secure if a padlock symbol is in place beside the address bar.

*Any legitimate seller should have a security policy on their website.

*Register your card for 3D Secure so that, if your information is accessed illegally, you can prevent your money from being spent.

*Keep all confirmation emails you receive.

*Look out for logos of trusted payment providers and industry regulators before buying an item.

*Check out the alleged contact details for companies you are buying items from to ensure they’re genuine.

*Read reviews of other online shoppers’ experiences of the websites you may be buying items from, to make sure that the feedback is positive and does not raise any concerns.

*Make sure complete terms and conditions are included on the company’s website.

*If you fail to receive the item you bought, contact your bank immediately to request the charge back.


Frits Potgieter is General Manager with Muckross Park Hotel and Spa.You've Been Served: Frits Potgieter, Muckross Park Hotel and Spa

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