Online shopping fraud prevention advice

FORCEWIDE

22 Nov 2022

With prices rising everywhere, fraudsters are likely to target online shoppers this festive season.

Throughout the same period last year, an estimated £15.3 million was lost to online-shopping fraudsters, with the 19-25 age bracket the most affected. Action Fraud received nearly 1,000 reports over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend alone.

Detective Inspector Ben Robinson from Humberside Police’s Economic Crime Unit is urging members of the public to take safety precautions when making purchases online.

Det Insp Robinson said: “Tackling fraud and protecting the most vulnerable people in our society is a key priority for us.

“We know how tight money is for everyone this year, so big savings are likely to attract people’s attention.

“However, before making any purchases, I would like to urge people to take extra precautions.

“It is crucial that before you make a bank or cash transaction or online payment that you make sure you are doing so to a legitimate business.

“Heartless fraudsters are becoming more and more sophisticated in the ways they deceive people, especially when making quick impulse purchases on limited time discounted offers.

“They also use specific events to target vulnerable, as we saw during the pandemic. 

“It only takes a few simple steps to stay safe and protect yourself and those that you care about when shopping online.”

We recommend that you follow Action Fraud’s top tips to stay safe whilst spending your hard-earned money online:

  • Do not give any personal information (name, address, bank details, email or phone number) to organisations or people before verifying their credentials.
  • Make sure your computer has up-to-date antivirus software and a firewall installed. Ensure your browser is set to the highest level of security and monitoring to prevent malware issues and computer crimes.
  • Be extremely wary of post, phone calls or emails offering your business deals out of the blue. If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Always question it.
  • If you receive bills, invoices or receipts for things that you haven’t bought, or if financial institutions you don’t normally deal with contact you about outstanding debts, take action. Your identity may have been stolen.

If you think you might have been a victim of fraud report it to Action Fraud by visiting actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040, alternatively call Humberside Police on 101. In an emergency or if a crime is in progress dial 999.

If you have information regarding those responsible for fraud, please contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.