Christmas is nearly here, and the two biggest online shopping days of the year are here - Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

An Garda Siochana are urging shoppers to be vigilant online ahead of this years Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

The advice is to only buy from trusted sources, use your credit card and save all online documents.

Kelvin Courtney of the Garda Crime Prevention National Centre of Excellence said:

Shopping online is safe so long as we use our credit or debit cards correctly. We are asking people to take greater precautions when shopping online then they would if purchasing in the shops.

Gardaí say criminals are always finding fresh web scams.

Detective Superintendent Michael Gubbins of the Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau has advised online consumers to follow these ‘Golden Rules of Safe Online Shopping’ to avoid cyber crimes that help fund the activities of online criminal gangs:

THE DO’s

 ​Only buy from trusted sources, shops or brands that you are familiar with

 Use credit cards when purchasing things online

 Make sure the data transfer is appropriately protected. Look for the padlock symbol Think twice before allowing e-merchant stores to store your payment details

 Be aware how to control the recurring charge if paying for a continuous service online

 Always save all documents related to your online purchases.

THE DON'TS

 If you are not buying a specific product or service, don’t submit your card details

 Avoid doing your online shopping at sites that don’t use full authentication

 Never send your Card number, PIN or any other card information to anyone by email

 When purchasing something online from another person, do not send money up front

Never send your card details in an unencrypted email

Don’t send money to anyone you don’t know online

Consumers were also reminded of the following to safeguard against fraudulent online transactions:

Regularly check statements and transactions for any frauds or suspicious activity

If you have a suspicion about an online transaction check your account online to ascertain if the payment was made to the genuine retailer.

Report suspicious transactions to your local Garda station and to your bank or card processor.

Detective Superintendent Michael Gubbins, Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau, added:
An Garda Síochána and its partners in Europol are actively targeting cybercrimes such as online fraud. The public need to be aware that the proceeds from these fraudulent activities go to fund organised criminal gangs.
Detective Garda Jim O’Meara outlines what you should do if you think you’ve been a victim of online fraud. 
First thing is to contact your bank to make them aware that you think this has happened, they will have a look at your bank statements.
If you have online banking go into that immediately, have a look at the recent transactions. If there are any there you think are suspicious, contact your bank but also contact your local Garda station and report that you think you have been a victim of a crime.
 

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