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Don't be a victim of online crime this Black Friday and Cyber Monday

By Mercury reporter

Don’t become a victim of cyber fraud this Black Friday (November 23) and Cyber Monday (November 26), police have warned.

Friday and Monday will see online shoppers grab their computers and hunt for the perfect bargain in preparation for Christmas.

However, in recent years the two days have become a hot spot for cyber fraudsters, in 2016, 15,423 people reported that they had been a victim of shopping fraud.

Samantha Hancock, Cyber Protect Officer at Leicestershire Police, said: “It’s so important we raise awareness around the dangers of internet shopping, especially at such a busy time of the year.

"With Christmas on the horizon and everyone looking for that perfect deal, it is important people, ‘Take Five’ to make sure they are not being scammed.

“Please be particularly wary of special offers via email, pop ups, and texts.

"Do not follow these links, instead make sure you are on the legitimate site and check that the offer really does exist. In general, a good rule to go by is, if something seems too good to be true, it usually is.”

Christmas shopping tips (5501544)
Christmas shopping tips (5501544)

Leicestershire Police have offered five top tips for staying safe online this Christmas:

• Stick with well-established brands that you know and trust.

• Don’t pay for anything by transferring money directly to people or companies you don’t know, however desperate you are to buy. If it’s a fraud, it’s doubtful the bank will be able to recover or refund your money. The safest way to pay for anything is by credit card.

• Make sure shopping sites are authentic by carefully checking the address is spelled correctly. Fraudsters can set up convincing websites with very similar spellings to the authentic one.

• Ensure that payment pages are secure, by checking that addresses begin with ‘https’ (‘s’ is for secure) and there’s a closed padlock in the address bar.

• If you're out and about whilst online shopping, don't use public Wi-Fi, instead use your own data.

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