Just as you would in real-life, you should always be aware of whether everything looks and feels right when you’re buying and selling online.
The majority of people looking to buy or sell items online are legitimate and the majority of transactions happen without issue. However, people do need to take precautions when using the internet, as it is very difficult – if not impossible – to get items back once they have been posted and the seller then discovers they have been duped.
There are some simple steps you can follow to stay safe online. If you are unfortunate enough to be targeted by criminals then report it to Action Fraud.
If you are buying or selling online always –
– Use a system like Paypal, which reduces the chance of being targeted by fraudsters.
– Check the past history of a Paypal account holder to see if they are trustworthy – you can do this by looking at their review ratings from other people who have dealt with them, or by Googling their name to see if any alerts have been put out about them on the web.
– Always communicate via the website’s internal facilities. Typically the fraudster will ask you to correspond via a new email address outside of the website that greatly reduces the possibility of the website operator spotting a scam in the making.
– Verify any addresses or telephone numbers using known websites like 192.com.
– Keep a record of all the checks you have made as they will be useful when contacting police or your bank.
– Make sure your computer has up-to-date anti-virus software and a firewall installed. Ensure your browser is set to the highest level of security notification and monitoring.
– Do not give any personal information (name, address, bank details, email or phone number) to anyone without verifying their credentials. This includes people cold calling you on the phone, on your doorstep or online.
– When paying for goods, remember that using a credit card affords additional protection should you fall victim- a debit card sometimes does not. Check with the issuer what protection comes with the card.
– Use secure websites that you trust. Do your research before making a purchase. Check online forums for feedback
– If website prices for designer items, games and smart phones seem too good to be true, they probably are. Legitimate popular technology and designer items are rarely discounted
Been Duped? Report it to Action Fraud
Action Fraud is the UK’s national fraud and internet reporting crime centre.
If you have been a victim, contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.