Online shoppers are being reminded to exercise the caution when buying online as we enter peak purchasing season.
Last year, 54 local residents reported falling victim to online fraud in November and December, losing a combined total of £27,413.
Across the country as a whole, this figure was over £13million and this year, due to the pandemic, the number of people shopping online is set to increase.
Detective Inspector Rob Burns, from our Serious Fraud and Cyber Unit, said: “At this time of year people are hoping to pick up bargains and are rushing to get their Christmas shopping started.
“Fraudsters take advantage of this by sending out emails offering items for sale at bargain prices, with links to fake websites or with no intention of supplying the goods you pay for.
“If you are thinking of buying from a retailer unfamiliar to you, make sure you do your research. Check out reviews of the company online, visit their website and check if they have an address and phone number.”
Keep yourself safe when shopping online by following these tips:
- Establish a physical address and telephone contact details. Carry out online research in relation to the website, company name and address to identify any poor feedback or possible irregularities.
- Remember that the best way to find a reputable retailer is via recommendation from a trusted source.
- Payments made via bank transfer are not protected if you do not receive the item.
- Remember that paying by credit card offers greater protection than with other payment methods in terms of fraud, guarantees and non-delivery.
- Before entering payment card details on a website, ensure that the link is secure.
For more advice on staying safe online visit: www.herts.police.uk/protectyourmoney.
If you have been a victim of fraud report it to orlo.uk/rYbMi
Alternatively, you can stay 100 per cent anonymous by contacting the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via their untraceable online form at orlo.uk/s1teT