Scam Bulletin: Shopping online this Christmas? Be Cyber Aware and don’t be scammed

Last Christmas shopping seasons saw over 17000 reported online shopping scams averaging at £775 loss per person. This year, with many more people shopping online, perhaps for the first time, things could be worse. So if you’re online and shopping, you need to make sure you are Cyber Aware.

Cyber Aware is a campaign from the National Cyber Security Centre and it’s trying to make sure people know how to spot online scams and how to protect themselves.

There are many other types of scam to be aware of too at this time of year – from dodgy letters through the letterbox, to social media scams, text alerts, phone calls and more. But if you’re online then please take note of the Cyber Aware campaign and the six steps it sets out that can help protect you.

Visit the Cyber Aware web page here and have a read.

Watch the new video here (and watch out for it on your TV).

Read the news story about it on the BBC here.

There are six steps outlined in the guide. If you’ve got a computer or device, make sure you work through them all. Then, if you get a scam, you’re much better protected than if you do nothing. Remember, using a password is not enough – is your password strong enough and different on every account?

The six pieces of advice are:
– use a strong and separate password for your email
create strong passwords using three random words
save your passwords in your browser
turn on two-factor authentication (2FA)
update your devices and apps
back up your data

If you don’t know how to do some of these then please don’t ignore them. Take time to investigate or ask someone. There is lots of tech advice on the Digital Unite website here. Or if you’re in Cleethorpes you can always talk to Big Local about getting some support.

Barclays have a set of short YouTube videos about online shopping and various digital skills that will help you stay safe. They are worth watching here.

Be warned that shopping online is not your only risk this Christmas. There are a lot of email scams and text messages that pretend to be what they are not. Emails or texts are getting common that pretend to be from DPD about a package being late; or from the Post Office; or Hermes, or other delivery firms. None of these are real but they encourage you to click on links which opens you and your device up to danger.

Remember to think it through. If you get an email from the Post Office telling you that your package is delayed then ask yourself, how did they get your email? You don’t give them that when you pop to the post office do you?

If you get a notification from DPD then did you really order something for delivery? If so, you’ll have an original email from the retailer and that will have the real tracking included. Does this new email give you specific details (like part of your postcode or the name of the sender?).

Remember to check elsewhere. Think it might be real? Go to the main website directly (e.g. to DPD tracking) and TYPE that code in. Don’t click on the links in the email!

Take 5 minutes when you get anything to double check it!

Stay safe this Christmas.

This article first appeared on the Neighbourhood Watch Network website here. Thank you for NELwatch for sharing.  You can read much more about Scams on that website here or in the regular Scam Bulletins here.