PCC Mark Shelford is urging local people to be extra careful when taking part in Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals and online shopping in the run-up to Christmas.
Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping events of the year but the Association of Police and Crime Commissioner’s (PCC) National Lead for Economic Cyber Crime, A&S PCC Mark Shelford is urging caution.
The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) revealed that a massive £10 million was lost to scams during the festive period last year, with the average loss being £1,000. The NFIB data also showed that the most likely medium for shopping fraud takes place on social media platforms.
Online shopping provides criminals with an opportunity to trick people into paying for goods and services that don’t exist, often advertised via social media with images taken from genuine sellers, to convince you they’re real. Criminals also use cloned websites with slight changes to the URL to convince people that they are purchasing from the genuine site.
Mark Shelford said: “Those participating in this year’s Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals online should use some simple but effective security measures to shop safely.
“Always double check if you are offered a heavily discounted or considerably cheaper product or service compared to the original item’s genuine worth. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it possibly is, so do your due diligence and check sites are credible before you purchase.
“By shopping securely online we can take the power back from these online criminals and ensure they don’t ruin your Christmas”.
How you can shop safely this weekend
The PCC offers the following actions that can be taken in tackling and preventing this type of crime:
- Use strong and unique passwords for each online account you hold and implement two-factor authentication wherever possible.
- Paying using a credit card as most credit card providers will help you get your money back if the item is faulty, damaged, or never arrives.
- Check that the retailer is credible before purchasing anything, this could include doing a separate search for the item to compare with other sites or reading customer reviews.
- Report all incidents of cybercrime.
If you have been scammed, contact your bank immediately on a number you know to be correct such as the one listed on their website or on the back of your debit or credit card.
You can then report the scam to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via actionfraud.police.uk
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