With more people shopping online due to COVID-19 restrictions, there has been a surge of 30% in online shopping fraud throughout the pandemic. As we head towards Christmas, Action Fraud is advising people to be vigilant, to protect themselves from online shopping fraud this Christmas.
Figures from Action Fraud show that criminals conned 17,407 shoppers out of almost £13.5 million over the Christmas period last year, an increase of over 20% when compared to the same period in 2018.
Action Fraud have put together their top tips to shop online securely during this festive period:
Where to shop:
Making a purchase from an online store you haven’t used before? Carry out some research first, or ask a friend or family member if they’ve used the site and about their experiences before completing the purchase.
Only create an account if necessary or to save you effort if you’re going to use that site a lot in the future. Be cautious if the website asks you for details that are not required for your purchase, such as your mother’s maiden name or the name of your primary school as these may be used as security questions.
If you decide to go ahead with the purchase, ensure that the webpage where you enter your payment details is secure (website address starts with “https”). Using a credit card to pay online also means that should the worst happen and your payment details are compromised, your main bank account won’t be directly affected.
Some of the messages you receive about amazing offers may contain links to fake websites. Not all links are bad, but if you’re unsure, don’t use the link – go separately to the website. Report any suspicious emails you receive by forwarding them to: email@example.com You can also report suspicious text messages by forwarding them to 7726.
For more information about how to shop online securely, please visit Action Fraud’s website.
If you require support from Trivallis’ Money Advice Team, get in touch with them, here.