AIB is urging consumers shopping online this Christmas to be vigilant and beware of signs of potential fraud as more people are expected to be shopping online than ever before. 

Up to ten million online transactions are expected to be carried out over the busy Christmas shopping period.

Many retailers now plan to start their sales on Christmas Day, which means that consumers will be shopping online by default if they want to grab an early bargain. 

Industry data from the Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) also showed that fraud losses on Irish consumers' credit and debit cards amounted €22m last year.

AIB has five tips to help keep consumers safe.

1. Use secure websites. Make sure there is an "https" at the beginning of the web address and a padlock symbol displayed beside the URL before the purchase is made - this indicates a secure connection. 

2. If the seller is unknown to you, do some research - call them, authenticate their phone number and business, check if they have a physical address. 

3. Be careful about cut-price offers -  if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. 

4. Always keep a record of your purchase, print or save a copy of your order. Ensure you read the terms and conditions associated with any purchase. 

5. Where selling platforms offer an official, safe way of paying, use this rather than sending money directly to a third party.

Eamonn Landy, Head of Fraud Prevention at AIB, said that Christmas may traditionally have been seen as a time of rest and relaxation, but AIB data shows consumers are spending more online than ever. 

"With close to ten million online card transactions expected to be carried out over the busy Christmas period, AIB is urging customers to be vigilant when shopping online over the next few weeks and watch out for potential signs of fraud," Eamonn Landy said. 

"Due to the changes as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, a lot more of us are shopping online, which means there is more opportunity for fraudsters to strike. Consumers who feel that they have fallen for a scam should contact their bank immediately and then the authorities," he urged.