As Black Friday approaches and the pre-Christmas rush gets underway FraudSMART has issued an appeal to consumers to be extra vigilant and to inform themselves of the simple steps that they can take to prevent falling victim to fraud.
A new report published recently by FraudSMART, the fraud awareness initiative led by Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI), shows that fraudsters stole nearly €45 million through frauds and scams in the second half of 2021.
This marks a jump of 37% on the same period the previous year.
Speaking about the latest figures and how consumers can stay safe when shopping either online or in store this Christmas, Niamh Davenport, head of financial crime, BPFI, said, “Today’s fraud figures are a stark reminder that consumers need to be on high alert during what is the busiest online shopping period of the year. 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. While banks are using a range of measures such as encryption and continuous fraud monitoring to protect their customers and ensure every day payments can be made securely, fraudsters are increasingly targeting businesses and consumers directly, so it is important for us all to know how to protect ourselves.”
Debit And Credit Card Fraud
The FraudSMART Payment Fraud Report for the second half of 2021 outlines how debit and credit card fraud (including ATM) hit €14.5 million.
According to the research, most of the increase was driven by online card fraud or ‘card not present’ where a fraudster uses the victims compromised card information to make an online purchase.
However, 2021 also saw payment card fraud at ‘point of sale’ or in-store return to pre-COVID levels as most retail outlets reopened with the lifting of most public health restrictions.
Unauthorised Electronic Payment
The report also highlights the soaring value of unauthorised electronic payment (credit transfer and direct debit) fraud which at €21.5 million reflects a sharp increase in online and mobile banking fraud.
This type of fraud happens when a payment is made by another person without the account holder’s authorisation or permission and usually results from the loss, theft or misappropriation of sensitive payment data (such as account numbers and PINs).
Additionally, the report shows how consumers were scammed out of €7.6 million through authorised push payments, down 4.4% year on year.
This type of fraud takes place when a victim is duped into transferring money from their account to a fraudsters account such as through romance or investment scams.
Davenport, added, "With a jump of almost 46% in debit card fraud losses alone, we are calling on all consumers to pause for thought before parting with their money or information and familiarise themselves with some of the very straight forward steps they can take to protect themselves.”