Since the arrival of the pandemic, online purchases have never been so high. Whether shopping online or paying for courses online, it is important that the sites you choose are reputable.
This has been echoed by the local Community Policing Unit of An Garda Síochána, who have been made aware of sites on social media offering online courses. There are a number of things you can do to ensure your safety on the internet.
- Research: only buy from trusted sources, shops or brands that you are familiar with. Use websites that your friends, family or colleagues have used before.
- Check all available information on new traders. Make sure you have the name and full contact details, including postal address, of the web trader so you know who you are dealing with. Do not rely on just an e-mail address or a post office box. Check the business registration number, if applicable.
- Do not click on links or adverts from social media if you are not familiar with the site. Independently go to the website offering the deal. This will ensure you are not shopping on a fake website.
- Read terms and conditions and make sure you are not committing to a series of recurring payments especially where free trials are offered.
- Always save all documents related to your online purchases.
- When purchasing something online from another person, do not send money up front
- Use a secure website. Look for the padlock symbol and the ‘S' in HTTPS.
- Think twice before allowing e-merchant stores to store your payment details
- Never send your Card number, PIN or any other card information to anyone by email. Some websites provide payment through payment transaction intermediaries or card payment processors.These payment gateways provide additional safety and assistance in certain matters, e.g. in case of non-delivery. Check the terms and conditions for the payment transaction intermediary you intend to use. Some of the major global payment gateways used widely by online traders are: PayPal, Stripe, Worldpay, Ingenico, Amazon Payments, WePay, Realex Payments, etc. If you want to make sure that the payment method is legitimate, check the identity of intermediaries as a lot of fraudsters set up their own copycat sites in order to dupe consumers
- Don't use public Wi-Fi when making payments, always switch to 3G/4G
- 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.