Fraud Protection Tips

As Black Friday and the festive season approaches, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement to grab a bargain; however, if it looks too good to be true, it usually is!

Here are some tips to help you:

1. Online shopping fraud

Most scams last year involved mobile phones and electronics. Fraudsters build fake websites to catch unsuspecting consumers. Do your due diligence; always shop with official retailers; the website address should be ‘https,’ indicating a secure connection. Independently visit the website as opposed to clicking on social media or pop-up adverts. 

2. Scam Texts and Emails

Watch out for scam texts and email messages pretending to be from parcel delivery companies or your bank. The messages might appear from couriers like DPD, stating that they have tried to deliver a parcel and asking you to click a link to reschedule the delivery. It’s a very convincing scam; however, to protect yourself, double-check the details in the message and confirm it’s related to something you’ve ordered. Does the message use your name rather than an email address? Does it mention the goods or company you have ordered from? If in doubt, do not click the link and contact the vendor directly via their website. The message might also appear to have come from your bank stating that you have an outgoing payment to an online merchant and will ask you to approve or decline the amount by clicking on the link. Your bank will never send you a text message asking you to do this. Make sure to block the number and delete the message.

3. Ticket/voucher scams

Only look at tickets from reputable websites that are secure (showing a padlock). Before buying, search for reviews on the provider to see if anyone has fallen victim to a ticketing scam. Avoid entering your bank or credit card details on public or shared computers.

4.   Charity scams

As the season of giving gets underway, many people are looking to support local charities, creating new opportunities for scammers. To make sure your money goes to a genuine charity, you can search for it through the register of charities by visiting www.charitiesregulator.ie

5.   Social media scams

Limit your personal information on social media accounts to prevent your bank accounts from being compromised. Remember to protect your identity at all times. Also, be wary of posting when you’re away from home, as this is an open invitation for criminals of another kind!

6. E-card virus

You may receive a message along the lines of, ‘Your Sister has sent you a Christmas E-Card! Click the link to receive her message and gift!’ Once more, the download could be a virus that may leak personal information to criminals.

7.   Staying secure online

Ensure to use a strong password for your email account and other accounts. Having one password for everything is a recipe for disaster. Criminals can use your email to access other online accounts.

8.   Choosing where you shop

If you’re purchasing from a website you don’t know and trust, conduct research first. Look online for reviews from Trustpilot.com, for example. If you’re purchasing an item from an online marketplace, you can view the seller’s feedback history before going ahead with the purchase.

9.   Identity fraud

Christmas is one the most lucrative times of the year for fraudsters, especially those who commit identity theft. Your personal information is valuable. Act now to protect it. Never disclose your PIN or hand over your bank cards to anyone. 

10.   PayPal fraud 

These scams typically target people selling goods via online marketplaces, something many people do to make extra money for Christmas. The fake emails trick victims into believing they have received the payment through PayPal for the items they’re selling on the platform. Thinking they have been paid, the seller then sends the item to the criminal.

For more information on how to avoid fraud, visit www.FraudSMART.ie