In the run up to Christmas, we are reminding the public about our top tips on how to shop online safely.
In December last year, more than £13,000 was lost by fraud victims in Gwent from online shopping and auctions.
Detective Superintendent Nick Wilkie, lead for cyber-crime and fraud, said: “Christmas is always an incredibly busy time for us all and this year it is anticipated that more of us will be shopping online in light of the ongoing health pandemic. Unfortunately, fraudsters will also be taking the opportunity to take advantage of shoppers online.
“We would urge people to follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign to keep themselves safe from fraud. Always take a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information, and don’t let a criminal rush or panic you into making a decision that you’ll later come to regret.
“Anyone can fall victim to fraud. If you do think you have been a victim of fraud contact your bank immediately, report it to police on 101 or Action Fraud online at actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.”
To stay safe while shopping online, remember these top tips:
Always buy from reputable sites. Make sure if you are purchasing from a website or person you don’t know and trust, carry out some research first. Look online for reviews of the website or person you’re buying from. If you’re purchasing an item from an online marketplace, you can view the seller’s feedback history before going ahead with the purchase.
Be aware of spoofed websites: these are fake sites made to look like real ones to steal your personal or banking details when you submit them to the site.
Check the website address at the top of the web address bar to make sure no characters are incorrect. Look for ‘https’ at the beginning of the web address and the padlock symbol.
Remember, if a deal sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Fake goods are of lower quality, can be dangerous in use and more importantly, they’re illegal.
Be wary of a company or individual asking for payment by bank transfer. Pay by debit card, or even better, credit card as it gives you more protection.
Be wary of unexpected emails, texts or posts with links or attachments. If you’re unsure, don't use the link and visit the website directly instead.
Make sure you use a strong, separate password for your email account. Criminals can use your email to access other online accounts, such as those you use for online shopping.