Watch out for Black Friday scams warning as online cons already cost Northamptonshire shoppers £500,000 in 2021

"Nobody wants pay for a criminal’s Christmas, so follow our tips to stay safe," says fraud squad officer

Thursday, 25th November 2021, 11:24 am
Updated Thursday, 25th November 2021, 11:26 am

Police have issued an urgent warning to Black Friday shoppers after revealing more than 900 people in Northamptonshire have lost more than £500,000 to fraudsters already during 2021.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday traditionally marks the start of the festive shopping season.

Members from Northamptonshire Police Economic Crime Unit are joining colleagues from Action Fraud to raise awareness of online scams and prevent people from giving bogus sellers an even happier Christmas.

Fraud squad officers in Northamptonshire are echoing warnings to shop safely

PC Neil MacKenzie warned: “Fraudsters give absolutely no thought as to whether you and your family are left without presents at Christmas time.

“More and more people are taking advantage of the ease and convenience of online shopping and it’s a great way to compare prices, find bargains and save money.

"But there are specific risks related to buying products and services online.

“In the first ten months of this year, we’ve seen 930 county residents lose an average of £577 to online criminals. And with Christmas shopping and the seasonal sales in full swing, we’d like to share some advice to help people avoid the fraudsters.

“Nobody wants to pay for a criminal’s Christmas."

Latest figures from Action Fraud, the national reporting centre for fraud and cyber-crime, revels that online shopping bargains which were “too good to be true” cost UK consumers a whopping £15.4million over the festive period last year.

This resulted in more than 28,000 online shoppers being conned out of their hard-earned money, an increase of almost two thirds compared to 2019.

These are a few of the top tips from the National Cyber Securtity Centre to avoid falling victim:

■ Avoid clicking on sponsored links or adverts in search results

■ Check web addresses carefully to ensure you visit the genuine site

■ Do not rely entirely on product or online store reviews, they could be fakes

■ Avoid social media posts offering vouchers, coupons and discounts unless verified

■ Use a different strong password for each account — best way is to combine three random words — and do not share them with anyone

■ Minimise personal information you supply when setting-up a store account

■ Use a credit card or trusted payment provider when making an online purchase

■ Never accept requests to pay by bank transfer, vouchers, or PayPal Friends & Family

■ Always remember to sign out of your online shopping accounts

■ Close old accounts that you no longer use

If you think you may have been scammed, or know someone who has, contact Northamptonshire Police online HERE or contact Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040.