Online fraud on the rise ahead of Black Friday

With Ireland looking set to grab itself a good few bargains on Black Friday, there are worrying signs that online fraud is on the rise

With rising interest rates, mortgage repayments and the looming threat of a recession in the balance, it might not just be the Grinch who can steal Christmas. 

The release of the Credit Union Consumer Sentiment Survey, which revealed that customer satisfaction with the economy is edging lower in the leadup to Christmas, and that 61% have less to spend over the festive period than this time last year, highlights the precarious situation that many households are in. 

And for many, Black Friday represents a chance to snag a deal on some potential presents before the Christmas madness. 

However, new data shows that there has been an increase in the number of online-fraud related offences. 

What’s the data saying?

According to FraudSMART, a fraud awareness initiative set up by the Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI), nearly €45 million was stolen through frauds and scams in the second half of 2021, a 50% increase over the corresponding timeframe in the previous year. 

What’s also changing is the ways in which people are being defrauded. Debit card fraud remains a popular choice for fraudsters, with 132,577 cases in the second half of 2021, accounting for €12 million stolen, a 45% increase from the previous year.  

However, the biggest reveal was the steep incline in online and mobile bank fraud. Electronic credit transfer frauds and scams took over €21.5 million (58% of all fraud gross losses) from just under 5,000 transactions, meaning the average amount stolen is around €4,100. 

This represents a 205% increase in the amount of ECT fraud transactions and an 159% increase in the value stolen from the previous year. Interestingly, this was the fourth successive period in which ECT fraud has grown, and the first period that it has surpassed that of card payment fraud. 

This is a sign that our increased prevalence in using online or mobile banking is being taken advantage of by criminals. And with Black Friday just around the corner, this is very worrying indeed. 

Black Friday in Ireland 

Originally an American invention, it has spread to Irish shores, just like most things from the States normally end up doing. 

New research from Visa shows that 42% of Irish consumers plan to shop on Black Friday, an increase of 10% from last year. 

And although 65% of respondents said that they’d be more vigilant of online fraudsters in the sales, a worrying 73% said they’d be targeted by fraudsters throughout the year, with 29% falling victim to one scam or another. 

This is highlighted by data from AIB that reveals that Irish shoppers will spend over €18,000 a minute - or €26 million overall - on Black Friday. €5,700 is spent on clothes alone, which is a 261% increase on a normal trading day. 

As such, it is imperative that consumers keep themselves safe on Black Friday due to the increased activity and the higher likelihood that scammers are lying in wait. 

But it's not just the older generation or technophobes who have to be the most careful - a separate study from Permanent TSB found that under-45s are more likely to fall victim to a scam than over-45s. 

This is despite the fact over-45s make up over 52% of the adult population, yet they only consist of 37% of fraud victims, while the over-65s who make up 18% of the adult population are only 11% of victims. 

This could be explained by the older generation's tendency to check their bank accounts often to ensure they haven't had any fraudulent transactions - 80% of over-65s do this at least once a week, compared to just 40% of 18-24 year olds.

Read our other Black Friday guides

Looking for ways that you can keep yourself safe on Black Friday (or in general)? Read our guide on how to shop safely online and avoid getting scammed. 

We also have a guide on how to avoid banking and insurance frauds online.

Find the best deal in broadband, TV or phone with our best Black Friday deals guide. 

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