Preventing Online Fraud - Cyber Monday & Internet Xmas Shopping

With internet sales due to increase during cyber monday and over the festive period, so do the risks of online scams. To prevent you from becoming the victim of shopping or auction fraud as well as any other cyber-crime, we’ve put together the following essential advice:

Think before you buy

  • If something seems too much of a bargain, it’s probably poor quality, fake or doesn’t exist.
  • Never click on unsolicited emails or text messages. Criminals can use the technology to make emails or texts look like they come from a legitimate business or organisation.
  • If you’re buying tickets, always buy from official sources and never pay by direct transfer.
  • If you’re buying a holiday online, research it thoroughly to ensure that is a genuine offer and check to make sure it is registered with ABTA and ATOL.
  • Use methods like PayPal when buying on auction sites; never transfer money to someone you don’t know.
  • Secure Wi-Fi is vital for your privacy. Check that the network you’re using is secure before you make any financial transactions.

Online Market Sites

  • Make sure you understand how the website’s feedback function works. Feedback will give you useful information about recent transactions other buyers have made.
  • Check the item’s description carefully – ask the seller questions if you’re not sure of something.
  • Beware of people offering you a deal below the current bid or reserve price, especially if they contact you direct. Remember, if an offer sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
  • Be extremely careful when buying things from people with little or no selling history.
  • Be aware of phishing emails that look like they come from the online auction or payment site you’re registered with, asking you to update your account details or re-enter them because your account has been suspended.
  • Check the URL in the web browser. A tactic often used by fraudsters is to change the address very slightly (if they’re spoofing an eBay site, for instance, they may have an address such as ‘. . . @ebayz.com’ whereas the real site is ‘. . . @ebay.com’)
  • Read the terms and conditions carefully, including those relating to any dispute resolution procedures the site offers.
  • If you bid for an item unsuccessfully, don’t be tempted to trade off-site if another seller approaches you with a similar item.

Transactions

  • Try to avoid paying by money transfers – they aren’t secure.
  • Be careful when using direct banking transactions to pay for goods. Make sure transactions are secure.
  • Don’t send confidential personal or financial information by email.
  • Use an online payment option such as PayPal, which helps to protect you.

If you are a victim of fraud

  • Report it to Action Fraud
  • Keep all evidence of the offence, including goods and correspondence.
  • If there is a business dispute over the nature of the transaction, contact the website involved.
  • Knowing your consumer rights will also be beneficial.

Throughout the year we have been supporting the business community combat cyber-crime through delivering workshops and seminars in partnership with Barclays Bank. Download their latest cyber-crime advice here….