Parents urged to talk to teens about online security as spending among teens rockets – up 184%

  • Online spending increased by 24% in the first 10 days of November vs same period in 2020
  • Parents advised to be extra vigilant around teenage children’s online spending security this Christmas; spending among teens up 184% vs the same period 2020
  • 40% increase in online spending among 18-25 year olds

24 November 2021: In the final run-up to Black Friday, Bank of Ireland has issued a fresh warning to Irish consumers as fraudsters continue to target busy shoppers In Ireland. A surge in cybercrime is being reported around the world according to Interpol’s November (IOCTA) report*, where the increase in online shopping is reportedly a leading factor in the steep increase in online fraud.

A snapshot of Irish consumer debit and credit card spending from 1st – 10th November has shown an increase of 24% in the total online spending compared to the same period in 2020, with a particularly dramatic increase in certain age groups. Spending online during this period increased 184% among teens, with a 40% increase in online spending recorded among 18-25 year olds.

With a further increase in online spend expected around Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Bank of Ireland is advising Irish consumers to be extra vigilant and heed the warnings from their banks and service providers when shopping online.

Advising online shoppers this Christmas, Edel McDermott, Head of Fraud at Bank of Ireland said: “Irish consumers are clearly spending more money in 2021 than for the same period in 2020 and a significant proportion of this is being spent online. This increase in online transactions has multiplied opportunities for fraud.

“We are seeing a dramatic rise of 184% in spending online among teenagers. That’s why we are strongly advising parents to check in with teens and younger members of their household to ensure they are shopping online securely, and are aware of the simple steps they can take to avoid fraudsters’ tactics to gain access to their banking information as they are shopping online.

“Not only are people at risk from things like fake websites and links to bogus offers, they are also particularly busy and distracted at this time of year. This is a dangerous combo, meaning consumers may be more likely to let their guard down. There has been no let-up in the alarming increase in ‘smishing’ (fraudulent text) attempts we have witnessed this year. Our advice to shoppers of all ages is simple: stay safe this Black Friday and every day – be careful where you shop, watch out for suspicious texts and websites, and remember if it looks too good to be true, it is!”

Bank of Ireland will never, ever, send you a text with a link to a website that asks you for your online banking login details. If you get a text like that, it is always fraudulent – no matter what the text says and even if it comes into a thread of previous genuine messages.

It is unfortunately very simple for fraudsters to ensure that their texts land alongside genuine texts. If they use a sender ID like ‘BOI’, your phone assumes that the text is coming from the same place that used that ID before. This is not something that banks – or other companies and service providers – have any control over.

You can forward any suspicious emails or texts to us at and if anyone is concerned that their account has been compromised, they should call our 24/7 freephone line 1800 946 764.

Safe Online shopping tips this Black Friday and during the busy Christmas shopping period:

  • Verify the website you wish to purchase from independently. Go directly to the retailers’ website by typing into your browser – rather than following a link.
  • No matter how tempting the offer, avoid clicking on social media or pop-up adverts for products
  • Always check that a website is secure. The website address should be ‘https’ before the purchase is made, indicating a secure connection
  • Public WiFi when making payments is a no-go. If shopping on mobile use 3G/4G instead.