'Tis the season to wise-up to online fraudsters
Consumer Direct - 6th December 2010
South Gloucestershire Trading Standards would like to remind residents to be extra cautious when shopping online this Christmas.
This warning is supported by a number of other agencies including the National Fraud Authority who state there has been a 15% increase in reports of online shopping and auction fraud since July.
Shoppers should be aware that behind some flashy websites, canny criminals are looking to cash-in on the December online spree. Anonymous fraudsters can set up legitimate-looking websites to sell either counterfeit goods or no goods at all.
The organisations are also warning people to take extra care when purchasing popular Christmas gifts online. Reports suggest that mobile phones, digital cameras, designer goods, laptops and video games are most likely to be involved in online shopping and auction fraud:
To make sure your online shopping is safe and secure, remember these top tips:
- Use secure websites that you trust. Do your research before making a purchase. Check online forums for feedback.
- Do they have a real-world presence? Can you see their address and phone number? Is it a valid UK registered phone number?
- Check the browser address changes from 'http' to 'https' to indicate you have a secure connection and look for a padlock or an unbroken key symbol on your web browser
- If website prices for designer items, games and smart phones seem too good to be true, they probably are. Legitimate popular technology and designer items are rarely discounted
For further advice and to report fraud, log onto www.actionfraud.org.uk or call 0300 123 2040.
Visit www.getsafeonline.org.uk for other tips on staying safe online.
For further advice on this or any other consumer issue, contact Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06.