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Shoppers told to stay ‘alert’ as scammers set up fake websites for Black Friday

Gardaí have told shoppers to be extra vigilant online this week as scammers take advantage of Black Friday.

Henry Street was buzzing with shoppers as stalls reopened

Maeve McTaggartSunday World

Shoppers have been warned not to fall for fake websites and ads as Black Friday sales kick-off this week.

Over €45 million was stolen through fraud in just the second half of last year.

Gardaí have now said there is a high risk of falling victim to a scam around Black Friday, issuing a warning on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

"We are warning all shoppers thinking of shopping online – even if they do it regularly – to be aware of the risk they are taking on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and on the run-up to Christmas," said Detective Chief Superintendent Patrick Lordan.

"There are a lot of criminals out there setting up fake websites, setting up fake ads on social media, so you need to be aware of that and you need to be very alert to it.

"You have to ask yourself the question 'would you hand over €50 or €100 to somebody wearing a dark mask on the street and they are going to go around the corner and come back with the goods? You wouldn't, and that is what people are doing on the internet.

"They are giving money to people they have never met, they don't know where their business is, in the hope that the goods will be supplied by these people," he said.

Card fraud is also on the rise, the programme heard this morning.

"With Black Friday happening and the run-up to Christmas we are urging customers to take care,” said Niamh Davenport, the head of financial crime at the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland.

"We know that fraudsters are continuously updating and adapting their tactics and tools.

"As well as scam texts, phone calls and emails, scammers have developed a range of techniques to convince online users to disclose key personal or financial information.

"Don’t hand over your money to the first person you see on social media hoping that the product will be delivered.”

Online banking app Revolut have also urged customers to stay vigilant as scammers look to take advantage of Black Friday.

In an email to customers, Revolut said: "Criminals also use cloned websites, with small changes to the URL, to trick you into thinking that you're buying from a genuine retailer."

The company warned that a busy period for shopping, means a busy period for criminals too.

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