19 Jan 2022

Six steps you can take to shop safely and avoid online fraud during sales

Six steps you can take to shop safely and avoid online fraud during sales

Consumers have been urged to remember six top tips to shop safe online during the post-Christmas sales, as fraud continues to increase. 

According to the latest CSO crime figures, over 13,500 frauds were recorded in the 12 months to last September, an increase of over 70%. 

A Bank of Ireland snapshot of Irish consumer debit and credit card spending during November showed an increase of 24% in the total online spending compared to the same period in 2020.

With this trend to online spend expected to continue into the January sales, Bank of Ireland is advising all consumers to remember six top tips to stay safe – and shop safe – online:

1 Always go directly to the online shopping site by typing the web address into your browser, or access it via a search engine (e.g. Google, Bing). Links on websites or in emails are not always safe and should be avoided.

2 Ensure you are buying only from reputable retailers, whether from personal experience or trustworthy recommendations. If it is not a well-known shopping site, do some research and look for independent reviews rather than trusting testimonials on the site itself

3 Be very careful of tempting offers that pop up on social media or other websites – if something looks too good to be true, it is!

4 Never give your card or other personal details unless the website address starts with ‘https’ – but also remember that fake websites will often start with ‘https’ too, so this isn’t the only thing to look out for.

5 Always use a secure internet connection. Public WiFi when making payments is a no-go. If shopping on mobile use 3G/4G instead.

6 And remember, Bank of Ireland will never, ever, send you a text with a link to a website that asks you for your online banking login or card details.

Edel McDermott, Head of Fraud at Bank of Ireland said:

"While many are still enjoying a Christmas break, the fraudsters do not let up. With more people staying home this Christmas, we expect to see the trend towards more online spending continue into January. However, any increase in online transactions naturally multiplies opportunities for fraud, so we’re reminding all consumers to be on their guard.

"When in bargain hunting mindset people can be particularly susceptible to bogus offers and fake websites. Be careful where you shop, watch out for suspicious texts and websites, and always remember if an offer looks too good to be true, it is! 

"If in any doubt, stop the transaction at any stage and never ever hand over your personal and confidential banking details, even if you think that it is your Bank that has asked for them," Ms McDermott said. 

"Bank of Ireland will never, ever, send you a text with a link to a website that asks you for your online banking login details. If you get a text like that, it is always fraudulent – no matter what the text says and even if it comes into a thread of previous genuine messages.  It is a simple thing for fraudsters to ensure their texts land alongside genuine texts. This is not something that banks – or other companies and service providers – have any control over," Ms McDermott said. 

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