Safe In Warwickshire wishes you a happy new year and to help keep you safe is giving you the advice on three areas of scams. Online shopping, booking holidays and copycat websites are all potential areas for scams.
Ensure that any online retailer unfamiliar to you is reputable by researching them. Establish a physical address and telephone contact details. Remember that the best way to find a reputable retailer is via recommendation from a trusted source.
Before entering payment card details on a website, ensure that the link is secure, in three ways:
- There should be a padlock symbol in the browser window frame, which appears when you attempt to log in or register. Be sure that the padlock is not on the page itself … this will probably indicate a fraudulent site.
- The web address should begin with ‘https://’. The ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’.
- If using the latest version of your browser, the address bar or the name of the site owner will turn green.
Some websites will redirect you to a third-party payment service (such as WorldPay). Ensure that these sites are secure before you make your payment. When shopping from on the internet, you do have additional rights. In most cases you can change your mind and cancel your order up to 14 days after delivery (you may have to pay the return cost).
Holiday Scams come in many forms including Fraud resulting from making payments over unsecured web pages- Where you book a flight and receive a fake ticket, or pay for a ticket that never arrives.Holiday scams also include fake websites and email offers for holidays or villas that do not exist. They require you to pay a deposit, which you never see again.
Ensure that any holiday or travel company unfamiliar to you is reputable by researching them online. Ensure that they are a member of a recognised travel authority which offers financial protection and a complaints service. Do not reply to unsolicited emails from companies you don’t recognise.
Copycat websites are those which offer services from government departments or local government, but are not the official site. They achieve this by using website tools to achieve high positions in search engines such as Google.
Do not automatically opt to use the first website(s) you find in a search engine, even if the address seems authentic and you are in a hurry. Instead, take time to look for the official website. You can normally tell that site is official if it ends in ‘.gov.uk’, The URL will have ‘Https:’ and have a padlock symbol indicating the website is secure. It should have the department, agency or council’s authentic logo and contact details and the prices are cheaper.