Gardaí urge public to be vigilant to online scams as Christmas approaches

Garda at the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) have issued a warning to the public against online scams in the lead up to Christmas.

Gardaat the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) have issued a warning to the public against online scams in the run up to Christmas.

An Garda Sochna have issued a number of guidelines keep online shoppers safe from payments and identity fraud.

The GNECB notes that they anticipate an uptick in online shopping and parcel delivery as the holiday season fast approaches.

They have advised the public to take a number of different precautions to protect themselves from online fraud, such as never opening unsolicited texts or emails or never giving out PIN numbers, card numbers or passwords online, even if a message purports to be from a financial institution or card provider.

Instead, Garda would advise the public to take a screenshot of the text/email, delete it, and report it to your local Garda Station, a Garda spokesperson said.

Garda have also advised against opening attachments on unsolicited emails and urge the public to ensure that anti-virus software on their devices is up to date. They have also advised the public to be leery of unsolicited phone calls.

Other tips from Garda include;

Only use secure sites and make sure you are on the real site. Check the URL and look for the trust seals (such as those pictured below)

Make sure to check these sites privacy policy, refunds policy and Contact Us section

Use trusted payment methods and never send cash

Use sites where a padlock symbol is shown beside the website address

Do not under any circumstances use public Wi-Fi when making payments - switch to 3G/4G on your phone if necessary

Independently visit the website of the online sales company as opposed to clicking on social media or pop-up adverts

Be cautious about claiming outrageous offers - if it sounds too good to be true it probably is

Stick to well-known websites or websites that you are familiar with or websites associated with high street retail outlets

Garda have also noted that anyone looking to donate to charity over Christmas should be wary of unsolicited requests alleging to be from charities and ask the public only to donate to legitimate, recognised charities.

The Garda spokesperson added: If you encounter a person claiming to be from a charity, look to see their ID and collection permit. If in doubt, do not contribute and contact Garda.