Irish consumers lost over €12 million through debit and credit card scams in the first half of last year, according to new figures published by the Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI).
The data shows that online card fraud was up 21% in the first six months of 2020, reflecting the boost in online shopping during the pandemic.
Meanwhile, in-store card fraud dropped by 52% during this period.
A total of 143,000 fraudulent card transactions were detected in between January and May.
Brian Hayes, Chief Executive of the BPFI said that 72% of these transactions involved the theft of card details.
“Fraudsters do this mainly by using fake text messages, email scams or fake websites to get a hold of a consumer’s card details and go on to use those details to make fraudulent payments mostly online,” he explained.
Despite the fact that the theft of card details led to the majority of fraudulent transactions, lost or stolen cards still accounted for about 21% of card fraud.
Mr Hayes said this highlights the ongoing need for consumers to be vigilant when using their card in-store.
“Our key advice in that regard is to always treat your card as you would your cash and keep it safe at all times,” he said.
New data published by the CSO this week shows that online sales were up 13% in March, the highest increase since last May.
Mr Hayes said criminals have tailored their scams over the past 12 months to take advantage of the rise in online shopping.
“This has led to an increase in impersonation scams with fraudsters mimicking delivery companies for instance or trusted organisations such as utility companies or banks via text, email and online websites,” he said.
The BPFI described the rise in online scams as a worrying trend, and urged consumers to be on high alert, particularly over the Easter period and Bank Holiday weekend.