Irish consumers lost over €12 million to online credit and debit card scams in six months last year
Consumers have been urged to be extra cautious during the Easter period.
Irish consumers suffered losses of €12.2 million through debit and credit card fraud in the first half of 2020, according to the latest figures from the Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI).
While in-store card fraud transactions dropped by 52% during the period, online card fraud rose by 21% due to the changes in shopping behaviour during the Covid-19 pandemic.
There were more than 143,000 fraudulent debit and credit card transactions in the first six months of last year, with 72% of all fraudulent transactions involving the theft of card details.
Speaking about card detail theft, Chief Executive of the BPFI Brian Hayes explained: "Fraudsters do this mainly by using fake text messages, email scams or fake websites to get a hold of a consumer’s card details and go on to use those details to make fraudulent payments mostly online.
"This is a very worrying trend that we are seeing, and we cannot stress enough the need for customers to be on high alert, particularly as we approach the popular Easter shopping period and Bank Holiday weekend ahead.”
He added: "And over the last 12 months we have seen how criminals have very quickly tailored their scams taking advantage of this rise in online shopping, as well as remote working and people being more contactable via email.
"This has led to an increase in impersonation scams, with fraudsters mimicking delivery companies for instance or trusted organisations such as utility companies or banks via text, email, and online websites.”
With lockdown restrictions set to continue in the coming weeks, meaning higher numbers doing their shopping online, the BPFI and its fraud awareness initiative FraudSMART have issued some tips to shoppers to protect themselves from becoming victims of fraud.
They urge people to:
- use secure websites. The website address should be ‘https’ before the purchase is made, indicating a secure connection.
- use sites where a padlock symbol is shown beside the website address.
- not under any circumstances use public Wi-Fi when making payments – switch to 3G/4G on your phone if necessary.
- independently visit the website of the online sales company as opposed to clicking on social media or pop-up adverts.
- be cautious about claiming outrageous offers – if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
- stick to well-known websites or websites that you are familiar with or websites associated with high street retail outlets.
For more advice, visit www.FraudSMART.ie.