Think before you click this Christmas - Cheshire Police and Crime Commissioner calls on Cheshire consumers to stay safe online Date published: 7th December 2017 1.52pm

 

David Keane urges Cheshire residents to follow advice offered by Cheshire Police fraud specialists

Advice includes making sure web addresses are spelt correctly and not transferring money to people or companies you don’t know

 

Cheshire Police and Crime Commissioner, David Keane, is warning Cheshire residents to stay safe online this Christmas – by following simple tips including making sure websites are real and sticking to authorised sites for purchases.

 

Risks associated with online shopping have increased in recent years, leaving consumers potentially at risk of fraud – and in November and December those dangers are even greater as more and more people search out those perfect gifts for friends and family.

 

But, working with partner organisations such as Action Fraud and Get Safe Online, Mr Keane and Cheshire Police are offering some easy-to-follow guidelines to stay safe this festive period.

 

“Christmas is the season of goodwill, and that inevitably means November and December are the busiest online shopping months of the year,” said David. “Unfortunately they are also the busiest months for those people whose goodwill extends only to themselves, the online fraudsters.

 

“One of my priorities since taking office has been to ensure a police service fit for the future in which we work together across Cheshire, regionally and nationally to address internet crime and fraud.

 

“You can help by making sure you stay safe online, not only this Christmas but all the time, by following the safety advice given by our specialist officers.

 

“It’s so important to make sure websites are genuine before you give your credit or debit card details and always log out of the websites after you have completed a purchase. We’re also urging people to make sure they don’t transfer money to people or companies that haven’t been thoroughly checked out. It’s all common sense, but by being vigilant and keeping these guidelines in mind, we can make sure we all have a cyber-safe Christmas.”

 

Detective Constable Matt Hull, from Cheshire Police’s eForensics team added: “The popularity of online shopping continues to increase which means the risks have increased in line with this so it is really important to remain vigilant.

 

“However, the safety tips listed will go a long way to keeping you cyber safe when shopping. Always think before you click the link.”

 

THINK BEFORE YOU CLICK THE LINK – TOP TIPS FOR A CYBER SAFE CHRISTMAS:

 

  •  Make sure you have a strong password. To create a strong password, simply choose three random words. Numbers, symbols and combinations of upper and lower case can be used if you feel you need to create a stronger password, or the account you are creating a password for requires more than just letters. There’s good password advice at www.getsafeonline.org/protecting
  • Keep your operating system and web browsers up-to-date. Online criminals can quickly find vulnerable areas in software so manufacturers regularly release updates to protect against this. Not keeping your software up to date can result in serious issues which can affect your computer and your personal security.

  •  Ensure you have up to date security software such as anti-virus or anti-malware on your device before you go online. 

  • Is it a real website? Make sure the web address is spelt correctly as some fake sites change one or two letters in the hope that you won’t notice, then check the address starts with ‘https’ (‘s’ for secure) and that there’s a closed padlock in the address bar

  •  Payments - Don’t pay for anything by transferring money directly to people or companies you don’t know. The safest way to pay for anything online is by credit card

  •  Emails, posts, texts – Particularly watch out for emails or texts from parcel delivery firms telling you to open an attachment for a delivery note; you wouldn’t get this from a real delivery firm. Also treat emails, tests or posts that urge you to click on a link for any reason with caution

  •  Counterfeit goods – Copyright law contravention can be of poor quality, dangerous and cost the livelihoods of workers who make the authentic versions. Do all you can to make sure you buy authentic goods

  •  Always log out – Simply closing the page may not end the payment session

  •  Subscription traps – Read the small print before signing up for ‘free’ or ‘low-cost’ trial goods. You could find yourself signed up for big, hard-to-get-out-of monthly direct debits. Read trusted reviews and (again) read the small print

  •  Buying tickets – Always buy concert, event and entry tickets from official sources such as the box office, sports club or reputable fan ticket exchange site. This is the only way you will know that your tickets are real and not fake

  •  Booking a holiday or travel - Check that any holiday or travel you book online is genuine by researching it thoroughly. Look for independent reviews, and confirm travel agents/tour operators are genuine by checking for an ABTA/ATOL number

  •  If something seems too much of a bargain…it probably is! It could be poor quality, not as described or even non-existent.

     

If you think you have been a victim of fraud call Cheshire Police on 101 or report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre, on 0300 123 20 40 or by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.