Irish people have lost over €1.1 million as a result of online shopping fraud in 2020
Victims included a 69-year-old man from Laois who was conned out of €15,000 while trying to buy a JCB online.
Irish people have lost a total of €1,127,972 as a result of just under 500 cases of online shopping fraud reported to Gardaí in 2020, An Garda Síochána has revealed.
In the period from 1 January to 31 October 2020, 489 online shopping frauds were reported to Gardaí, an average loss of €2,306 per incident. The figures represent only the cases where the incidents were reported to Gardaí so far this year.
An Garda Síochána released details of some of the incidents reported this year, including the examples below:
- A 69-year-old male from Laois purchased a JCB online for €15,000. The JCB was not delivered as requested. A website had been set up to advertise machinery from a fake company.
- A 24-year-old female from Kerry purchased two tickets via Facebook. Money was transferred online through AIB online, directly to the account of the seller. The two concert tickets have not been received and the seller can’t be contacted. A fake identity was used to open the bank account.
- A 52-year-old female from Leitrim was buying a present for a child and found a PlayStation Pro 4 on an online trading forum. She engaged with the seller through the messaging app on the forum and transferred €240 to a bank account. The Playstation never arrived and the seller has gone offline and will not reply to messages.
Details of online shopping fraud affecting victims in Ireland have been released by Gardaí ahead of their support of a Europe-wide campaign by Europol to promote safe online shopping during the Christmas season.
Gardaí said that the business community in particular are frequently targeted by fraudsters using stolen or compromised credit cards, bank accounts or payments, in what is called Card Not Present Fraud.
Businesses who are victims of this fraud will suffer losses under the ‘charge back’ process.
In the first 10 months of 2020, for example, 346 Card Not Present Frauds have been reported to An Garda Síochána, representing a total loss of €374,751 or an average loss of €1,083 per incident.
An example of Card Not Present Fraud provided by Gardaí related to a case where a bank account was compromised and the account details were used to book an overnight stay in a hotel in Galway to the value of €342.
The holder of the account was refunded by the bank. This cost may be placed with the hotel, who accepted the account details, in the charge back process.
Ahead of the busy Christmas season, when consumers and businesses will be particularly active online, An Garda Síochána and Europol have advised consumers to follow the 10 golden rules for online shopping (see below).
- Buy from trusted sources
- Understand risk and think twice before purchasing
- Check the seller’s reviews and ratings
- Ensure data transfer is secure
- Save all documents related to online purchases
- If you don’t make a purchase, don’t leave identity or card details behind
- Check the website payment security
- Never send card details by email, text or other messaging methods
- Don’t send money to someone you don’t know – check first
- Use credit cards when purchasing online
Businesses, meanwhile, have been warned to protect their sales and revenues by identifying risks: know their product, know their customers, utilise safe means of payment and use reliable delivery methods.