For anyone hoping to bag themselves a bargain this weekend in the Black Friday sales, the Gardai haveoffered some safe online shopping tips to help you avoid being scammed in the run up to Christmas.
Black Friday represents one of the biggest shopping days of the year, withIrish shoppers shelling out 13.2 billion online last year alone.
CSO figures from 2016 showed that 41 billion was spent worldwide on credit and debit cards issued in Ireland last year, and it's estimated that 30% of us will use our phones as our main shopping tool this Christmas.
With Black Friday and Cyber Monday on the horizon, the Gardai are urging the public to be careful with their details online and have issued a handy list of dos and don'ts to help you avoid being hacked or scammed.
"Shopping online is safe so long as we use our credit or debit cards correctly," said Sergeant Kelvin Courtney of the Garda Crime Prevention National Centre of Excellence."We are asking people to take greater precautions when shopping online then they would if purchasing in the shops."
Detective Superintendent Michael Gubbins, Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau, added: "An Garda Sochna 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.
Here are the Gardai 12 pieces for advice for shopping online safely:
- 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
- If you're not buying a specific product or service, dont submit your card details
- Avoid doing your online shopping at sites that dont use full authentication
- Never send your card number, PIN or any other card information to anyone by email
- When buying something online from another person, do not send money up front
- Never send your card details in an unencrypted email
- Dont send money to anyone you dont know online
Companies such as Ryanair, WOW air and Argos have already launched their sales ahead of the weekend, while Lidl Ireland have announced plans for their first ever Black Friday sale, with deals onhigh end cameras, laptops and TVs up for grabs.