Wise-up on online fraudsters
With the UK’s busiest online shopping day ‘Mega Monday’ (6 December) fast approaching, the National Fraud Authority (NFA) and the UK’s lead force for fraud, City of London Police, are ringing-out the bells about the growing threat of online fraudsters.
With over half the UK adult population now shopping online, forecasters predict pre-Christmas web sales will peak at £23.2m between 12-1pm on ‘Mega Monday’. But police analysts advise this frenetic activity also raises the risk of buyers losing money to criminals.
Shoppers should be aware that behind some flashy websites, canny criminals are looking to cash-in on the December online spree. Anonymous fraudsters can set up legitimate-looking websites to sell either counterfeit goods or no goods at all.
According to figures compiled by the NFA’s Action Fraud and the City of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB), there has been a 15 per cent increase in reports of online shopping and auction fraud since July.
The organisations are also warning people to take extra care when purchasing popular Christmas gifts online. Previous reports to Action Fraud and other agencies, suggest the following products are the top five to feature in online shopping and auction fraud:
1. Smart Phones
2. Digital Cameras
3. Designer goods including jewellery and branded boots
4. Laptops and notebooks
5. Video game systems.
Financial Fraud Action UK and CIFAS – The UK’s Fraud Prevention Service are supporting the call for consumers to take basic steps online to protect themselves this Christmas.
To make sure your online shopping is safe and secure remember these top tips:
*Use secure websites that you trust.
*Do your research before making a purchase.
*Check online forums for feedback.
*Do they have a real-world presence?
*Can you see their address and phone number?
*Is it a valid UK registered phone number?
*Check the browser address changes from ‘http’ to ‘https’ to indicate you have a secure connection and look for a padlock or an unbroken key symbol on your web browser.
*If website prices for designer items, games and smart phones seem too good to be true, they probably are. Legitimate popular technology and designer items are rarely discounted
For further advice and to report fraud, log onto www.actionfraud.org.uk or call 0300 123 2040, Textphone 0300 123 2050
Visit www.getsafeonline.org.ukfor other tips on staying safe online.
Visit Action Fraud for daily prevention tips in the run up to Christmas, join NFA’s Facebook page or follow us on Twitter.