SOUTH Yorkshire Police issued fraud advice to shoppers taking advantage of Black Friday deals.
Lockdown has meant more people turning to online shopping with Christmas on the way.
Cyber protect officer Danielle Lee said: “Shoppers will understandably want to take advantage of the great deals and discounts available online this Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
“But as you search for bargains and gifts for your loved ones, please make sure you aren’t sending your hard-earned cash to a fraudster.
“The latest figures from Action Fraud show UK shoppers were conned out of almost £13.5 million last year, an increase of more than 20 per cent on the year before.
“Action Fraud has also revealed they’ve seen a 30 per cent surge in online shopping fraud over the pandemic, as many of us have switched to online shopping in light of the Covid restrictions.”
Here are the officer’s top tips for staying safe while shopping online:
Choose where you shop: Research the retailer to ensure they’re legitimate by reading reviews and checking consumer websites. If you receive an email with an amazing offer, it may contain a link to a fake website. If you’re not sure, search for the website instead and follow the link in the search results rather than clicking on the link in your email.
Use a credit card: Most major credit card providers give you online purchase protection, meaning you may get a refund in certain circumstances if things go wrong.
Don’t give away too much detail: Only fill in the mandatory details on a website while making a purchase — you shouldn’t need to provide any security details.
Keep your accounts secure: Make sure you don’t have the same password for all your online accounts. Create passwords using the National Cyber Crime Centre’s suggested method of putting together three random words, such as tablechairbrush.
Be wary of suspicious emails and texts: If something doesn’t feel right, forward emails to firstname.lastname@example.org, and texts to 7726. It’s free to do so.
If you think you’ve been scammed: If you think your credit or debit card has been used by someone else, contact your bank immediately to get it blocked. If you have lost money, tell your bank and report it as a crime to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or actionfraud.police.uk.