Card fraud jumped to €12m in the first half of 2019, new figures show, prompting warnings to consumers about Covid-19 scams.
About 80% of card fraud involved online shopping while the remainder took place when using a card in store.
FraudSMART, an initiative led by the Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI), is warning consumers and businesses to be extra vigilant and alert to scams and to report any suspicious activity to their bank or gardai.
A spike in fraud is expected as criminals try to capitalise on the Covid-19 crisis, targeting victims via phone calls, email, text and social media.
“In the coming weeks and months we believe that there will be significant attempts at fraudulent activity around Covid-19 related scams with the potential for substantial losses as fraudsters seek to capitalise on the heightened anxieties of the public during the current crisis," Brian Hayes, BPFI CEO said.
"With a range of financial and other Covid-19 supports now available for impacted consumers and business we anticipate that fraudsters will target victims via email, text, phone and social media by posing as genuine organisations including government, banks and health care providers in an attempt to get victims to disclose personal or financial information.
We have already had warnings in relation to the new Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment with fraudsters posing as officials asking for financial details to process this payment.
While scams may be adapted for the current crisis, the advice on protecting yourself remains the same: don’t be rushed, take your time to do the relevant checks and always immediately report any suspicious activity to your bank or local Garda Station, Mr Hayes said.
Key Advice from FraudSMART.ie
Further information on Covid-19 and other fraud types can be found on www.fraudSMART.ie