According to Which, in the year to April 2021, there was an increase in fraud of 33% on the previous year, with online scams topping the table. As more people have taken to online shopping during the pandemic, so the craftiness of the online scammer increases. These scams can take many forms eg fake websites where goods never arrive. And with more people ordering online, so the number of fake delivery company text messages has increased – ones that say “sorry we haven’t been able to deliver your item today, call this number or pay an admin fee to get it redelivered”. Shoppers must be extra vigilant to avoid being duped.
These are some of the things that you can do to avoid falling foul of these scammers:
- Be aware that scams exist – ask yourself: am I dealing with a legitimate organisation? Check for reviews before making a purchase online.
- Make sure your machine is up to date (ie not Windows 7 – if it is, consider upgrading or buying a new machine), have all Windows updates installed and have up to date anti-virus software. This doesn’t have to be paid for anti-virus software, Windows Defender which comes free with Windows is just as good as those that you have to pay for.
- Consider installing an ad-blocker to stop these too good to be true adverts (click here to win an ipad) from dancing around your screen.
- If you’ve received a telephone supposedly from your bank, put the phone down and call 159 (ideally from a different telephone or mobile as scammers can spoof a false dialing tone). 159 is a new fraud line number that you can ring to check if what you have just been told from your bank, is true. Most major banks have signed up to this safety scheme.
- Setup a Call Guardian feature on your landline so that only genuine callers get straight through.
- If you get a call from “Microsoft” or your “broadband provider”, be aware that no-one from outside of your house can tell if your machine is running slow: no-one. Put the phone down immediately.
- Watch out for emails sent to you supposedly from genuine companies asking you to update your details by clicking on a link in the email. If you want to update your details, go to the company website by opening up your browser: don’t click on the link in your email.
- Finally, if you have been scammed, make sure your report it so that others can avoid getting hit. To report a fraud – go to: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/reporting-fraud-and-cyber-crime Act fast and don’t be embarrassed.
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