Shoppers buying online this Christmas are being encouraged to support local businesses by buying Irish, but also by staying vigilant for opportunistic cybercriminals.
As Ireland battled through the pandemic from health and economic perspectives, a more sinister rise in cyberattacks on organisations and individuals also became apparent.
The pandemic led to a groundswell in consumers buying goods online and accordingly more Irish businesses became digital retailers.
“Over the Christmas period, keep account of every payment you make online and compare it with your bank statement. If you think your account has been compromised, contact your bank immediately”
By using common sense and obeying basic security rules, online shopping is a safe and convenient experience.
Be alert during festive frenzy
However, Christmas, coupled with increased online spending, can be a perfect time for opportunistic cybercriminals looking to take advantage of the festive frenzy.
“Every €20 spent on a Guaranteed Irish gift this Christmas is worth €100 to the Irish economy”
“When it comes to buying gifts online, shop with trusted retailers and recognisable brands,” said David Curtin, CEO of .IE, Ireland’s .IE domain registry.
“If you’re suspicious, check online to see if other shoppers have had your concerns. Avoid downloading apps and clicking on unsolicited links that promote deals and prices that seem too good to be true—they probably are.
“At the online checkout, make sure your web address bar has a lock or shield icon; this means your connection is safe and can’t be intercepted by a third party. If you don’t see it, don’t buy.
“Over the Christmas period, keep account of every payment you make online and compare it with your bank statement. If you think your account has been compromised, contact your bank immediately.
“Finally, if you are a business, we would urge you to be upfront with information for customers by making all terms and conditions visible and accessible on your website to avoid any unnecessary confusion and disappointment later.”
Guaranteed Irish, the business membership network that has been championing businesses based in Ireland since 1974, has developed an online shopping portal at guaranteedirishgifts.ie to showcase Irish businesses online.
The organisation has found that 81pc of Irish consumers agree that buying Irish is important.
“We welcome this initiative with .IE, which not only reassures consumers they are shopping securely but supports our local economy and communities and shortens the supply chain, which ensures less damage to our environment,” said Bríd O’Connell, CEO of Guaranteed Irish.
“Every €20 spent on a Guaranteed Irish gift this Christmas is worth €100 to the Irish economy. This helps our Irish producers, makers, and suppliers to keep trading while giving the consumer a feeling of solidarity in supporting our exceptional local businesses. We are encouraging everyone to look out for the Guaranteed Irish symbol and .ie websites for a local, secure, and seamless online purchasing experience.”
Tips for buying online safely this Christmas:
- When it comes to buying gifts online, shop with trusted retailers and recognisable brands. If you are suspicious, do your research to see if other shoppers have the same concerns or have had bad experiences.
- Before making a purchase online, check the address and location of the retailer. Websites with a .ie address are the easiest way of finding businesses with an Irish connection. Though it might not be physically located on the island of Ireland, all .ie websites must have a proven connection to Ireland. 91pc of .ie websites are registered by businesses and individuals that are located here.
- If prices seem too good to be true, they most likely are! Avoid clicking on unsolicited links and use your common sense when it comes to deals and prices.
- Always look for delivery details so that you know all the costs associated with the delivery of your items, including taxes and charges. This information is usually found on the FAQ, help, shopping cart areas of a website. If it is not available, email or phone customer service for clarification.
- Shop early to avoid disappointment! In the lead-up to Christmas, there can often be delays in receiving items due to increase in demand, potential supply issues, and delivery delays. Shopping early helps to ensure you will receive your items on time.
- Always look for the returns policies so that there are no surprises or hidden costs if you need to return the item later.
- Shop with websites whose addresses begin with a https:// (as opposed to a http://). In simple terms, look for the lock icon! The lock icon ensures your data is protected and your transaction is safe.