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‘Buy Safe and Pay Safe’ when shopping this Christmas

CLARE gardaí are urging people planning for the festive season to ‘Buy Safe and Pay Safe’ when it comes to online shopping. In the lead up to Christmas and in particular the Black Friday sales promotion period An Garda Síochána are supporting Europol’s online fraud prevention campaign which encourages safe online shopping by customers.
“More and more businesses are using the internet as the primary channel to sell goods and services. Whilst convenient for both the consumer and retailer it also presents opportunities for fraudsters who can use the anonymous nature of the internet to rip off consumers or target retailers who do not have the necessary defences in place to protect themselves,” outlines Clare Crime Prevention Officer Sergeant Triona Brooks.
There was a total of €22 million in credit and debit cards fraud losses on Irish consumers in 2020, according to the Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI).
“Consumers and eCommerce merchants will be particularly active online over the next few weeks and An Garda Síochána and Europol advise consumers and online retailers to adhere to online shopping fraud prevention tips,” she explains.
For the online shopper the Golden Rules of online shopping are:
• Understand risks involved – do some research – use brands and shops that are familiar to you
• Check to ensure the website is genuine – type the address yourself and check the spelling
• Check the seller’s reviews and ratings
• Be careful how you pay – always use the websites recommended payment site – if none, use credit cards when purchasing as most cards have strong customer protection policy
• Save all documents related to online purchases
• If you don’t make a purchase, don’t leave identity or card details behind
• Never send card details by email, text or other messaging methods
• Don’t send money to someone you don’t know – check first 
“Also make arrangements for collection of deliveries. If you are not going to be home ask a trusted neighbour to collect for you. Failing that use a reliable service which can store your parcels (An Post have Parcel Locker and Parcel Motel is another one) And remember to dispose of packaging carefully so as not to inform opportunist criminals of valuable items inside your home.”
For the Online Retailer / eCommerce Merchant: 
• Know your product – Some products are riskier than others i.e. easily re-saleable small items may present a higher fraud risk
• Know your customer – If you accept card payments for high value goods you would really want to know who you are selling to – wouldn’t you?   
• Establish a safe means of payment – Your card processor can advise when choosing a safe means of payment
• Use a reliable delivery service – Use a delivery service which you can be assured will offer professional handling of your merchandise

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