Black Friday is this week.
Gardaí have issued a warning to online shoppers as Black Friday and Cyber Monday approach, to make people aware of online scammers.
The call comes as there is set to be as much as €26 million will be spent on shopping in the Black Friday sales.
New figures now show that over €45 million was stolen through frauds and scams online in the second half of last year, and now Gardaí are warning of something similar happening again this year.
Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Detective Chief Superintendent Patrick Lordan, of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau warned people to me more alert while online shopping.
“We are warning all shoppers thinking of shopping online – even if they do it regularly – to be aware of the risk they are taking on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and on the run-up to Christmas,” he said.
“There are a lot of criminals out there setting up fake websites, setting up fake ads on social media, so you need to be aware of that and you need to be very alert to it.
“Don’t hand over your money to the first person you see on social media hoping that the product will be delivered.”
The latest report from FraudSMART shows that nearly €45 million was stolen by fraudsters in the second half of last year with a rise of 37% on the previous year.
The report shows that debit and credit card fraud (including ATM) hit €14.5m, a rise of 18.5% since 2017.
Last year also saw that payment card fraud at “point of sale” or in-store return was comingback to pre-Covid levels as retail outlets opened without public health restrictions.
Head of Financial Crime with BPFI Niamh Davenport said: “It is at the highest levels it has been since 2017.
“We are going back to pre-pandemic levels and a lot of that is driven by pre-pandemic shopping.
“With Black Friday happening and the run-up to Christmas we are urging customers to take care.
“Today’s fraud figures are a stark reminder that consumers need to be on high alert during what is the busiest online shopping period of the year.
“We know that fraudsters are continuously updating and adapting their tactics and tools.
“As well as scam texts, phone calls and emails, scammers have developed a range of techniques to convince online users to disclose key personal or financial information.
“While banks are using a range of measures such as encryption and continuous fraud monitoring to protect their customers and ensure every day payments can be made securely, fraudsters are increasingly targeting businesses and consumers directly, so it is important for us all to know how to protect ourselves.”