Don't give cash to cyber criminals

Operation Impact

22 Dec 2015

If you have been saving your hard earned cash to spend in the sales this year, make sure it doesn’t end up in the hands of cyber criminals instead.

Whether you’re logging on to snap up some post-Christmas bargains, or Santa brought someone in your family an internet-enabled device, we’ve got plenty of top tips to keep you safe online.

Detective Inspector Rich Osgerby, from the force cyber crime unit,  said: “Now you don’t have to head out to the shops to take advantage of the post-Christmas sales, buying online can be a tempting option.

However, you need to be aware of the risks and take care over what you are buying, from whom and how you pay for your purchases.

“You could end up dealing with a bogus seller – who will pocket your cash without any intention of supplying the goods they have promised in return.

“You may also end up purchasing low quality fakes, or expose yourself to online fraud.”

Click here for more practical advice on how to shop online safely.

If you are heading out to meet friends, or to hit the shops, it’s also important to think twice about what you do when using public Wi-fi.

While it may be tempting to do some online banking or buy online from the comforts of a coffee shop sofa or over a cheeky festive drink in the pub, it could end up costing you more than you bargained for.

Det Insp Osgerby, added: “Public Wi-fi may provide fast and convenient access to the net, but it also provides cyber criminals with a number of convenient attack routes.

“Remember, if it is quick and easy for you to join the network, the same applies to criminals and it provides a great opportunity for them to get unfettered access to any unsecured devices that are logged on to the same network.

“The attacker can then intercept sensitive data such as emails, bank details and credit card information.

“All activity using public Wi-fi carries some danger. However online shopping, online banking and downloading apps are all things that should only ever be done when using a secure connection.”

To keep yourself safe when using public Wi-fi, follow these basic dos and don’ts:


  • Be cautious and verify the authenticity of a Wi-fi network before logging on to it.
  • Use mobile data services such as 4G in preference to public Wi-fi wherever possible.
  • Raise any concerns or suspicions with the manager of the organisation and the police


  • Download any applications to your smart phone, tablet or PC
  • Install any updates
  • Access sensitive information such as online banking
  • Give personal details or credit card details to any site

Finally, if you did wake up to a new internet-ready console, tablet, computer or smart phone under the Christmas tree, take a few minutes to ensure your security settings are at the right level.

Superintendent Phill Ward said: “It is believed that around 80 per cent of cyber crime could be prevented by taking a few simple security steps

“I would urge parents to intrusively monitor what their children are doing online and to talk to them about any issues they are concerned about.

“Having those conversations and maintaining an open dialogue with children is a vital tool in protecting them from the potential dangers of the online world.”

Click here for practical tips, with specific age appropriate advice for those aged 0 to 5; 6 to 9; 10 to 12 and over 13s. 

If you think you have been a victim of fraud: Report it to Action Fraud , the UK’s national fraud reporting centre or call them on 0300 123 20 40. 

For more detailed information on keeping yourself, your family and your business safe in the online world, visit our Cyber Security – Has It Clicked? campaign page.

You can also follow @humberbeat #HasItClicked? on Twitter or visit the force Facebook page, where we have posted links to some great short films aimed at showing children, teenagers and parents the possible dangers of the online world and what they can do to protect themselves.