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Gardaí have warned people about online shopping thieves and issued advice to shoppers to avoid being robbed when buying online for Christmas, on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Increased online shopping due to the Covid-19 pandemic has also prompted the alert from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) about the potential risk to their personal and payment data.
"An Garda Síochána are advising the public to never click on an unsolicited text or email, never give away personal data like your PIN, card numbers or passwords, and to not respond to such emails or texts. Instead, Gardaí would advise the public to take a screenshot of the text/email, delete it, and report it to your local Garda Station.
"Gardaí would also like to advise the public to never open attachments in unsolicited emails and to make sure your computer has the most up-to-date anti-virus software installed. Gardaí would also like to advise the public to be wary of unsolicited phone calls," said the statement.
The Gardaí also advised anybody who wishes to donate to any charities over this Christmas period to be wary of unsolicited requests and only ever donate to legitimate, recognised charities.
"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 Gardaí," said a statement.
Gardaí issued the following pointers to help people being scammed online.
• Only use secure sites and make sure you are on the real site. Check the URL and look for the trust seals (examples are attached to this press release).
• 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