Gardaí are urging members of the public to be extra vigilant with an increase in online shopping expected around the Christmas season.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been more online shopping and parcel deliveries and people are being warned about the potential risk to their personal and payment data. 

Gardaí are advising people to never click on an unsolicited text or email, or to respond to them.

They also advise not to give away personal data such as a PIN number, card numbers or passwords. Gardaí say that people should take a screenshot of the text/email, delete it and report it to a local garda station.

People are also being warned not to open attachments in unsolicited emails and to be wary of unsolicited phone calls.

In order to protect their finances, gardaí have advised people to: 

  • Only use secure sites and make sure you are on the real site.
  • Make sure to check these sites privacy policy, refunds policy and contact us section
  • 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

If people wish to make donations over the Christmas period, gardaí say to only donate to legitimate, recognised charities.