Online shopping is becoming more and more popular but during the festive period, this hits an all-time high with everyone doing their Christmas shopping. Unfortunately though there are people who take advantage of this by looking for opportunities to commit frauds both online and offline.
With such a large number of people using online services such as shopping, banking and for work purposes – there are more opportunities than ever to gain access to both bank and personal details and it is very important to be aware of the warning signs of scams and how to handle them.
How do I know if I’ve been scammed?
- You may have difficulty accessing your online bank account or there may be unusual activity on your statements.
- Your computer may start to run slow, you may start getting an unusually high number of unsolicited messages.
- Bank or credit card statements usually sent to your address aren’t delivered – this could be a sign of ID fraud.
- You have trouble obtaining credit when you’ve got a good credit history.
- Reputable companies will never ask you to pay for goods with vouchers or music tokens.
- A bank will never call or email and ask you for passwords, account details or to move money to a ‘safe account’.
Tips to help you avoid potential scams:
- Don’t assume anyone who has sent you an email or text message or has phoned you is who they say they are. If you feel unhappy about the content, delete the email or message or hang up the phone.
- Be sure to check the site you are visiting is secure, this is usually indicated by HTTPS in your browser bar address and often accompanied by a small padlock symbol.
- Buy from reputable and trusted companies that you know to be legitimate and genuine. Be very wary of sites offering ‘too good to be true’ deals.
- Don’t access your bank or building society accounts via email/message links received, go directly to the website.
- Always double check numbers you’re given to call back on or call through the main customer care number for the organisation. If you’re still unsure, consider visiting your local branch to speak to someone in person.
- Never respond to letters or emails claiming you have won or you are due money and never send any money to release apparent winnings.
Can I get my money back?
Once money has been sent it can be incredibly difficult to get funds back if you don’t use a trusted payment method. Ensure you use methods such as credit/ debit cards, PayPal, Apple pay and Google Wallet for example, when making online payments as they have fraud protection measures in place. If asked never send cash or use carriers such as Moneygram or Western Union to forward on cash payments to unknown recipients.
What to do if you’ve been scammed:
- Report the issue to Police Scotland on 101.
- Don’t engage with the scammer, stop any interaction at once.
- Contact your bank, tell them and take advice.
- Contact the payment vendor and initiate resolution procedures.
Further preventative digital and cyber advice is available through the Police Scotland website at:
http://www.scotland.police.uk/keep-safe/keep-secure-online/ and from other prevention partners at the following sites:
Scottish Government Cyber Resilience
Scottish Business Resilience Centre
National Cyber Security Centre