Public urged to protect themselves from online sales scams

The public must be vigilant in protecting themselves from the threat of online scammers during the Boxing Day sales, the Government has urged today (26 December) after a year which saw a record number of cyber attacks and online scams.

Reports to Action Fraud, the national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime, reveal that almost 100,000 people in the UK have fallen victim to online shopping fraud in the past 13 months – with over £60 million being reported lost, leading to this call to action for the public to take five simple steps to protect themselves and their families from fraudsters.

Traditionally, Boxing Day marks one of the busiest days on the high street for retailers, however in recent years more people have been shopping online – with Barclaycard estimating £2.7 billion was spent online by UK shoppers on Boxing Day 2020, an average of £162 per shopper.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is encouraging people to shop online securely by following five actionable steps:

  1. Keeping accounts secure – strong and separate passwords should be used for the most important online accounts, including email, banking or payment accounts (such as PayPal). The NCSC recommends using three random words to create a password. Turning on two-step verification can add an extra layer of protection.
  2. Be aware of emails, text messages or websites that look too good to be true or suspicious – many scammers set up fake messages designed to steal financial and personal information. Members of the public can report suspicious messages to the NCSC via text to 7726 and email to report
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