On Black Friday, ahead of Cyber Monday, and whilst the melee that will be online Christmas shopping develops, Derbyshire Constabulary have offered safety advice, scam updates and a cautionary tale.
Shopping Online Safely
Using the internet to purchase products or services can be easier and more convenient, and a great way to compare prices, find bargains and save money.
However, there can be risks related to buying online. The below advice will help make your online shopping experience safer and more secure.
First and foremost, if it sounds too good to be true, it more than likely is!!
Avoid clicking on links in emails, texts or pop ups. If you are interested in an offer, find it via a web search. Don't get caught by Phishing.
Don’t forget that ads and sponsored pages are at the top of list for web searches - this doesn’t mean the site is legitimate. It merely means they have paid to be promoted; no checks have been done!
Check with friends and look up reviews for products/sites for their experiences before using an unfamiliar site or buying an unknown brand.
Bear in mind that product and online store reviews could be faked. Are the comments very similar in wording, very close together in time, too good to be true?
Ensure you use different passwords for each account - we advise combining three random words to create a longer, stronger passwords.
Ensure you enable 2FA/2SV for an additional layer of security to protect your online accounts.
If setting up a store account online, only complete mandatory fields.
Use a credit card or trusted payment provider when making online purchases for additional protection, and ONLY save payment details if you have set up 2FA on accounts
If paying for goods and services via PayPal, ensure that you have ticked the option Goods & Services so you are covered under Buyer Protection.
Never accept requests to pay by bank transfer, vouchers or cryptocurrency.
Problems with your order?
Contact the store/site or their official customer support on social media. If you have paid by card, contact your card issuer (phone number on card)
PayPal Buyer protection - www.paypal.com/uk/smarthelp
Citizens Advice - Tel: 0800 144 8848
Trading Standards - www.tradingstandards.uk
Action Fraud - Tel: 0300 123 2040, or visit www.actionfraud.police.uk
PayPal payment request scam
Derbyshire Constabulary have been informed of a fake payment request scam being sent through PayPal.
The emails, which do come from PayPal, exploit a feature where you can request money from other users through the website.
These requests have the option to add a note, which scammers are using to create a message to pressure the recipient into sending an amount for money for a completely random service.
Fraud Protect Officer Tammy Barnes warned:
“If you check the details of who these emails have been sent from, it will appear as the official PayPal address as the emails are sent by the system.
“If you’re not expecting a request for payment, we would advise ignoring these emails and if you think the email may be genuine you should always verify the request via a trusted contact method before making payment.
“This is also a timely reminder to make sure your online accounts are secure by using unique, strong passwords and enabling two-factor authentication ahead of the busy online shopping season.”
If you do receive an email that you think is suspicious, you can forward it to email@example.com.
If you think you have been scammed, please report this to Action Fraud.
This is an example of the scam...
Fraudsters stole £15.3m from Christmas shoppers last year
New figures revealed victims of online shopping scams lost on average £1,000 per person during last year’s festive shopping season.
The figures, which come from reports made to Action Fraud and analysed by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB), showed that shoppers across England, Wales and Northern Ireland were scammed out of £15.3m between November 2021 and January 2022, and that the age group most likely to fall victim was 19 to 25-year-olds.
Scams ranged from one shopper losing more than £150 trying to purchase a mobile phone on social media to another being duped out of more than £7,000 during an attempted online campervan purchase.
Meanwhile, another victim lost almost £500 when trying to buy shoes on a social media platform, and a fourth lost £145 trying to make a similar purchase.
Top tips to shop online securely this festive season:
Action Fraud and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) are urging online shoppers to protect their accounts, check before they buy, and use secure payment methods in order to stay ahead of the threat from criminals this shopping season:
Choose carefully where you shop: Research online retailers, particularly if you haven’t bought from them before, to check they’re legitimate. Read feedback from people or organisations that you trust, such as consumer websites.
Pay securely: Use a credit card when shopping online, if you have one. Most major credit card providers protect online purchases and are obliged to refund you in certain circumstances. Using a credit card (rather than a debit card) also means that if your payment details are stolen, your main bank account won’t be directly affected.
Also consider using a payment platform, such as PayPal, Google or Apple Pay.
And whenever you pay, look for the closed padlock in the web address bar - it means your connection is secure.
For more advice on how to shop online securely this festive season, visit: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/shopping-online-securely
Report all Fraud and Cybercrime to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or online. Forward suspicious emails to firstname.lastname@example.org. Report SMS scams by forwarding the original message to 7726 (spells SPAM on the keypad).