Professor Raymond J Friel talks to Joe Nash on how to avoid online scams and the remedies available if you get caught.
Following a high profile online scam involving a fake website purporting to be a real Limerick based business which cost a Spanish resident a significant sum of money, Friel was invited onto Limerick Today to talk to Joe about how to avoid falling for these scams and, in the event that you get caught by one, what remedies are available to you.
Friel pointed out by saying that a lot of people could avoid these scams by taking a few simple precautions such as searching for the company website using several different search engines to see that they all lead to the same site, ensuring the website name does not contain any extra wording or letters when compared to the real company, checking contact details even going so far as to call the phone number given and asking “Who am I through to?”
Nonetheless, as Joe pointed out, if after all that one is caught out, can you get your money back? Friel noted that you should never send money by way of bank transfer but to always use debit or credit cards. The situation is different from the UK where statute provides additional protection for credit cards. In Ireland virtually all debit or credit cards issued with a payments firm are entitled to Chargeback – that is the return of disputed payments made provided a claim is made to your bank within 120 days. It will depend on the terms of the card used, but there is the potential to get your money back.
Finally, Friel noted that the growing issue of cybercrime, and the special characteristics of this sort of crime, should be dealt with by a separate dedicated agency, distinct from the Gardai or other state agencies.