Throughout December, Wiltshire Police is running the ‘12 online frauds of Christmas’ campaign to protect people from falling victim to cyber-fraudsters.
The campaign, in support of City of London Police, runs for 12 days to raise awareness of a dozen online frauds that have the potential to ruin your festive fun.
So far, in 2014 74 per cent of adults purchased goods or services online. This December, around 50 per cent of people in the UK are expected to use the internet to buy more than half of their Christmas presents.
The majority of us will have presents delivered to our doorstep or into our email account without a hitch. However, the sad reality is that thousands of people nationwide will have their Christmas ruined after falling foul to heartless criminals who specialise in tricking internet users with the promise of great online and big cash saving deals.
Today, ‘Cyber Monday’ (1 December) will focus on the hazards of opening Christmas e-Cards sent via email which, unknown to the recipient, may be carrying a virus that can embed itself and corrupt your smart phone, tablet or laptop.
The ’12 online frauds of Christmas’ campaign will focus on:
- Friday 28 November: Online shopping fraud
- Monday 1 December: Christmas e-cards
- Tuesday 2 December: Auction fraud
- Wednesday 3 December: Holiday fraud
- Thursday 4 December: Loan and investment scams
- Friday 5 December: Ticketing fraud
- Monday 8 December: Donating to charity
- Tuesday 9 December: Mobile malware/malicious apps
- Wednesday 10 December: Money transfers
- Thursday 11 December: Social media scams
- Friday 12 December: Dating/romance scam
- Monday 15 December: Mobile payments.
Wiltshire Police Detective Sergeant Jonathon Lee said; "Criminals are very aware of how they can easily lure people into disclosing personal information online in the belief that they are on a secure , genuine site. This is what ‘The 12 online frauds of Christmas’ campaign is all about – providing simple tips and advice to our communities about how they can shop safely throughout the festive period.”
“If anyone should become a victim of fraud, please contact Action Fraud or, for advice, your local police force via 101."
City of London Police Commander and National Police Economic Crime Coordinator and is overseeing ‘The 12 frauds of Christmas’ campaign Steve Head said; “Easy access to the internet has revolutionised the way we shop and pay for Christmas gifts and festive breaks, and how we go about searching for a New Year romance. Unfortunately it has also made us vulnerable to crooks that specialise in creating online cons that lure people in with the promise of cheap deals and stress-free purchasing, or that corrupt our smartphones, tablets and lap tops with computer viruses.
“The key to staying safe this December, and throughout 2015, is to understand the nature of the threat we face and to have easy access to information that will keep us out of the clutches of cyber-fraudsters.
“This is why we have created the ‘The 12 online frauds of Christmas’ and set-up a unique law enforcement and public and private sector partnership that I believe can deliver the campaign’s key information and safety tips to millions of people who will be using the internet over the next few weeks in search for the best possible gifts and the most stress free festive period.”
Minister for Modern Slavery and Organised Crime Karen Bradley said; “The run-up to Christmas is a prime time for fraudsters and we are determined to stop them taking money from hard-working people. That is why we are supporting this City of London Police campaign.
“By improving the police’s capability to tackle cyber and economic crime through the National Crime Agency, City of London Police and dedicated fraud units in every region, we are relentlessly pursuing and convicting cyber criminals.
“However, we can do much to protect ourselves, such as using recommended methods of online payment rather than transferring money directly to a seller. Keeping tips like this in mind, and visiting the Cyber Streetwise and Action Fraud sites for more information, will help people stay safe online this Christmas.”
Tony Neate, CEO, Get Safe Online, said; “Every year there’s a mad rush as shoppers get online to order presents in time for Christmas, starting with Black Friday. Shopping online can be a great convenience for Christmas shoppers but we also need to stay vigilant and take care with what we’re buying, who we’re buying from as well as how to pay for purchases.
“Sadly, year on year we hear about people thinking they have got the perfect Christmas gift for someone but they end up disappointed because they didn’t recognise the most common scams out there.
“We are urging online shoppers to take a step back and think before they buy – always question if it is too good to be true, do your due diligence to check the authenticity of the site or product and make sure you use secure and protected methods of payment.”
More internet safety advice can also be found at www.getsafeonline.org and www.cyberstreetwise.com
If you fall victim to one of the dozen festive frauds or any type of online fraud crime, please report it to Wiltshire Police via 101. We also urge you to report it to Action Fraud – the City of London Police-based national reporting centre - on 0300 123 2040 or at www.actionfraud.police.uk
'The 12 Online Frauds of Christmas' campaign leaflet