The public urged to protect themselves from online sales scams
The public must be vigilant to protect themselves from the threat of online scammers during Boxing Day sales, urged the government today (December 26) after a year which has seen a record number of cyber attacks and scams in line.
Reports from Action Fraud, the national fraud and cybercrime reporting center, reveal that nearly 100,000 people in the UK have been victims of online shopping fraud in the past 13 months – with over £ 60million reported lost, leading to this call to action for the public to take five simple steps to protect themselves and their family from scammers.
Traditionally, Boxing Day marks one of the busiest days on Main Street for retailers, but in recent years more and more people have shopped online – Barclaycard estimating £ 2.7bn was spent online by UK shoppers on Boxing Day 2020, an average of £ 162. by buyer.
The National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) encourages people to shop safely online by following five concrete steps:
- Ensure account security – strong, distinct passwords should be used for the most important online accounts, including email, bank, or payment accounts (such as PayPal). The NCSC recommends using three random words to create a password. Enabling two-step verification can add an extra layer of protection.
- Be aware of emails, texts, or websites that sound too good to be true or suspicious – many scammers create fake messages designed to steal financial and personal information. Members of the public can report suspicious messages to the NCSC by SMS to 7726 and by email to email@example.com.
- Choose online retailers carefully – research stores before you buy to confirm they are legitimate on trusted consumer websites. Some emails or texts on amazing offers may contain links to bogus websites. If in doubt, do not use the link.
- Use a credit card for online payments if possible – most major credit card providers protect online purchases and are required to reimburse individuals under certain circumstances.
- Provide only enough details to complete a purchase – fill out only the mandatory details on a website when shopping online (often marked with an asterisk).
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for Cybercrime Steve Barclay said:
With a record number of cyber attacks this year, it is crucial that we all take steps to protect ourselves and our families from scammers while shopping online, especially during the Boxing Day sales, which have become a major concern. favorite of fraudsters.
Over the past year, government and police action has resulted in many convictions for cyber fraud, and we should all play our part in eradicating this terrible crime that can destroy lives.
Paul Maddinson, Director of National Resilience and Strategy at NCSC, said:
Scammers will take every opportunity to try to trick the public and businesses into parting with their money, so it is very important that we all know how to protect ourselves.
While scams can be convincing, there are practical steps you can take to avoid falling victim to cybercrime, all of which can be found on the NCSC website.
With this warning against online scams comes growing concern about the vulnerability of people’s personal technology. Hackers target individuals’ apps and email accounts, gaining access to personal and financial information and putting individuals at considerable risk.
As people get new laptops and smartphones this Christmas, the risks are magnified. The government is also encouraging individuals to ensure that any new device is protected to protect personal and financial information from hackers. However, these dangers are easily avoidable by adopting two key behaviors of Cyber Aware:
- Enable two-step verification
- Use three random words to secure your email accounts
For more tips on how to stay safe online, visit www.cyberaware.gov.uk