During this year’s Getting Online Week, we want to help you make the most of being online in a safe and secure way. The Internet is a great tool, but you should be aware of a few things so that you don’t get scammed online.
Protecting your information
Online safety is all about taking simple steps to prevent access to your personal information from cyber criminals.
Internet browsers will often warn you just before going onto a website if it doesn’t seem secure, but there are some other checks that can tell you whether or not a website is safe to go on:
When it comes to shopping online, you need to make sure you are ordering from a brand that you can trust.
There are fake shops on the Internet that will attempt to steal your money, bank details and personal information, so make sure to follow these checks before pressing ‘buy’:
If you’ve gone through these checks and think it’s safe to go ahead, you can protect yourself further by remembering to never pay via bank transfer. Paying using a credit card will offer you more protection, and using online money services such as PayPal will mean that scammers won’t be able to get hold of your bank details.
Dating or romance fraud is when you think you’ve met your perfect partner online, but they aren’t who they say they are.
According to police reports, most dating scams stem from online dating websites or forums, where victims are fooled by criminals using fake dating profiles. Once these fake profiles have gained the trust of their victims, they begin to request money for various false cases.
This could be anything from a supposed medical problem to asking for travel money to come ‘visit’ you - they may even manipulate you into giving out intimate pictures or videos, that they can then blackmail you with to give them money to not share.
Here are some tips to avoid being tricked by a romance scam:
Phishing is a cybercrime which targets victims by email, text or phone calls, posing as a legitimate organisation to encourage you to give out your personal information.
Phishing criminals can pose as a variety of false senders, including banks, businesses or even people you ‘know’.
Here are some tips to help you avoid being tricked by phishing:
Texts and calls:
It’s also important to remember that legitimate banks or companies will never ask for your details via email or phone, or ask you to transfer your money into a ‘safe account’.
One final bit of advice is that you should never get embarrassed by reporting a scam. If you spot a scam or have been scammed yourself, contact ActionFraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit their website at www.actionfraud.org.uk.