This festive season Cleveland Police is running the ‘12 Online Frauds of Christmas’ campaign to protect thousands of people in our communities from falling victim to cyber-fraudsters.
Kicking-off tomorrow on ‘Black Friday’, which marks the start of the busiest four days of internet shopping of the year, the Force will be doing everything they can to raise awareness of a dozen online frauds that have the potential to ruin your festive fun. Working in partnership with the City of London Police, which is the National Policing Lead for Fraud, Cleveland Police begin by shining a light on the ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ of online shopping.
Detective Inspector Dave Turnbull, Head of Cleveland Police’s Economic Crime Unit said: “At this time many people will use internet shopping and online auction sites to do their Christmas shopping, or book holidays or tickets for events. Shopping online can put you at risk of fraud. Please make sure that you take adequate precautions to protect yourself by following the simple advice in the 12 Online Frauds of Christmas campaign.”
So far in 2014, 74% of all adults nationwide have bought goods or services online, and this December around 50% of UK citizens are expected to use the internet to buy more than half of their Christmas presents. The good news is the majority of us will still have our presents delivered to our doorstep or into our email account without a hitch.
However, the sad reality is there will also be tens of thousands of people across the UK whose Christmas will be damaged, and in some cases destroyed, after finding out they have fallen foul of heartless criminals who specialise in tricking internet users with the promise of great online deals and big cash savings.
After ‘Black Friday’ the Force move on to ‘Cyber Monday’ (Dec 1) where they will be focusing on the hazards of opening christmas e-cards sent via email which, unknown to the recipient, may be carrying a virus (malware) that can embed itself and then corrupt your smart phone, tablet or laptop.
And then, every 24 hours for the next ten working days, they will be working with 37 other local police forces and a range of public and private sector organisations to flag up the threat of ten more online festive frauds, identified by the City of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB).
The December running order is:
- Nov 28: Online shopping fraud
- Dec 1: Christmas e-cards
- Dec 2: Auction fraud
- Dec 3: Holiday fraud
- Dec 4: Loan and investment scams
- Dec 5: Ticketing fraud
- Dec 8: Donating to charity
- Dec 9: Mobile malware/malicious apps
- Dec 10: Money transfers
- Dec 11: Social media scams
- Dec 12: Dating/romance scam
- Dec 15: Mobile payments
To spread the word far and wide about ‘The 12 online frauds of Christmas’ campaign Cleveland Police will be talking to local people and sharing top safety tips via traditional and social media and through their own community engagement teams. More internet safety advice can also be found at www.getsafeonline.org
Inspector Turnbull added: “We will also be urging anyone who has had the misfortune to fall victim to one of the dozen festive frauds, or any other type of cyber-fraud, to report to Action Fraud – the City of London Police-based national reporting centre - on 0300 123 040 or at www.actionfraud.police.uk
And if we have the evidence to take direct action, either sent through from the NFIB or handed to us by local victims, we will move swiftly to disrupt and shut down online criminal activity and identify and find those responsible.This will be then fed back to the City of London Police and shared with other forces involved in the campaign and, if appropriate, with public and private sector campaign partners that include the Home Office, Get Safe Online, National Trading Standards, Crimestoppers, Victim Support and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)."
City of London Police Commander Steve Head, who is the National Police Economic Crime Coordinator and overseeing ‘The 12 frauds of Christmas’ campaign, said: “Easy access to the internet has revolutionised the way we shop and pay for Christmas gifts and festive breaks, and how we go about searching for a New Year romance. Unfortunately it has also made us vulnerable to crooks that specialise in creating online cons that lure people in with the promise of cheap deals and stress-free purchasing, or that corrupt our smartphones, tablets and lap tops with computer viruses.
“The key to staying safe this December, and throughout 2015, is to understand the nature of the threat we face and to have easy access to information that will keep us out of the clutches of cyber-fraudsters. This is why we have created the ‘The 12 online frauds of Christmas’ and set-up a unique law enforcement and public and private sector partnership that I believe can deliver the campaign’s key information and safety tips to millions of people who will be using the internet over the next few weeks in search for the best possible gifts and the most stress free festive period.”
Tony Neate, CEO, Get Safe Online, said: “Every year there’s a mad rush as shoppers get online to order presents in time for Christmas, starting with Black Friday. Shopping online can be a great convenience for Christmas shoppers but we also need to stay vigilant and take care with what we’re buying, who we’re buying from as well as how to pay for purchases.
"Sadly, year on year we hear about people thinking they have got the perfect Christmas gift for someone but they end up disappointed because they didn’t recognise the most common scams out there. We are urging online shoppers to take a step back and think before they buy – always question if it is too good to be true, do your due diligence to check the authenticity of the site or product and make sure you use secure and protected methods of payment.”
Posted on Friday 28th November 2014