Consumers shopping online this week are being advised to be on the lookout for scams.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are expected to see another increase in online spending this year.

Fraudsters typically target consumers at busy times, but despite that, it looks like card fraud is on the decline.

Debit and credit card fraud is dropping according to banks.

The Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) said that despite the fact that debit and credit card usage has increased by almost 30%, fraud losses were down 49% last year when compared to just three years earlier.

90% of card fraud takes place online, on the telephone or mail order rather than in store.

Despite the decline last year over €22m was stolen through card frauds in Ireland.

260,000 fraudulent transactions took place in 2019.

Chief Executive of the BPFI Brian Hayes said the drop is easily explained.

"Consumers are becoming more aware of the risks of card fraud and the ways in which they can protect themselves from falling victim," he added.

More people are shopping online, in particular with Christmas approaching and Level 5 restrictions closing many stores and restricting people to online purchasing or click and collect.

Six in ten people say they will do more online shopping this Christmas.

Here are some simple steps to reduce the risk of being scammed using your debit or credit card:

Only use secure websites. Addresses should have 'https' before the purchase is made, indicating a secure connection

- Make sure a padlock symbol is shown beside the website address

- Never use public Wi-Fi when making payments; switch to 3G/4G instead

- Avoid clicking on social media or pop-up adverts, instead independently visit the website of the online sales company

- Be cautious about claiming outrageous offers in particular on social media. If it sounds too good to be true it usually is

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