With online Christmas shopping beginning in earnest this week, Police Scotland is warning shoppers to be on their guard against fraud.
With this year likely to be a record one for online purchases the risk of online fraud is just as great, with the cost to consumers last year around £12.5 million.
Colin Brough, Tayside’s divisional crime prevention officer, said: “More and more of us are now shopping online and this Christmas the latest mobile phones, tablets, game consoles and similar technology items are certain to be big sellers. This is a welcome boost for retailers and customers alike, however fraudsters are targeting this market, hoping to catch out the unaware or those who may be new to online shopping.”
He added that following simple tips, the risk of fraud ruining Christmas can be reduced.
Remember that legitimate popular technology and designer items are rarely heavily discounted; check the URL in the web browser to avoid being caught out by spoof websites where the address is slightly different; ensure the website address begins‘https at the payment stage, as this indicates a secure payment; never access links in unsolicited emails, always type in the website address or use a search engine to find a site; only deal with reputable sellers and known or recommended sites; avoid paying by money transfers directly to unknown people but use an online payment option such as PayPal, which offers some protection.
Watch out for pop-ups appearing asking you to confirm your card details before you are on the payment stage. Never enter your PIN number online. If a bid for an online auction item is unsuccessful, do not trade off-site if another seller makes an approach with a similar item. There is good chance that this is a scam. Finally, keep security software up to date.
For further advice is available online from the UK government security service at www.getsafeonline.org