Police issue advice to online shoppers ahead of Cyber Monday
News from our partners West Mercia Police and Warwickshire Police
Remember it’s not just shoppers looking for bargains on the Internet in the run up to Christmas: there are fraudsters on the prowl in cyberspace too.
That’s the message from West Mercia Police and Warwickshire Police, with ‘Cyber Monday’ (Monday 28 November 2016) on the horizon, and many people planning to go online in the coming weeks to buy Christmas presents.
Every year there is a spike in financial loss as a result of cyber crime around the festive period, due to an increase in people Internet shopping.
Between 1 November 2015, until the end of February 2016, 183 reports of online shopping and auction fraud were made to Action Fraud from people living in the West Mercia Police force area, resulting in a total loss of £127,444.*
In Warwickshire, from 1 November 2015, until the end of February 2016, 86 reports of online shopping and auction fraud were made to Action Fraud, resulting in a total loss of £78,516.*
When it comes to searching for that special something the Internet is a great resource but police want people to be aware of the risks.
DCI Tim Bower, from West Mercia Police and Warwickshire Police specialist operations unit, said:
“While these figures demonstrate the financial impact of this sort of crime, they do not show the human impact. Being left out of pocket or without a carefully planned gift for a loved one can be hugely distressing, particularly during a time when families are looking forward to festive celebrations.
“We do not want people to avoid using the Internet to buy their gifts – if used safely it is an excellent resource – but we do want them to be aware that fraudsters use the Internet too, and to avoid the traps that they set.
“The good news is that awareness is key, and there are some straightforward steps that people can take to help protect themselves.
“A good piece of overall advice is to remember that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. You should also always make sure payment pages are secure before entering card details by checking the web address starts with ‘https’ and that there’s a locked padlock or unbroken key symbol in the browser window.
“I would urge everyone doing their online shopping this year to pick up more top tips by looking at www.westmercia.police.uk/becybersmart, www.warwickshire.police.uk/becybersmart and www.getsafeonline.org.”
If you think you have been a victim of fraud report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre, by calling 0300 123 2040 or by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.
*Action Fraud figures
Here is a good way of remembering top tips to stay safe online this Christmas:
Safeguard your payment. Never transfer money directly into the seller’s account. Pay by card on a secure payment page, by cheque or cash in person.
Make sure payment pages are secure and you can see ‘https’ and a locked padlock or unbroken key symbol.
A credit card, rather than a debit card, gives you more chance of getting your money back if there are problems.
Remember Wi-Fi in public places is not always secure – even if you have to enter a code.
Think. After you have finished your online shopping or banking session remember to log out.