THE impact of fraud can be both financially and emotionally devastating. It is a top priority for Greater Manchester Police (GMP) to investigate reports of fraud thoroughly and take action to disrupt and stop fraudsters offending.
GMP is committed to providing the public with up-to-date information about fraud and the latest scams so that our communities know how to protect themselves and their hard earned money, making it easier to stop these crimes taking place.
Online shopping scam warning
As the annual ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Cyber Monday’ events approach, offering shoppers thousands of deals on products, GMP reminds online shoppers to stay vigilant towards possible scams and deals that really are too good to be true.
The pandemic means that more people are likely to be hunting down their deals online this year, something that fraudsters will exploit, setting up lookalike websites advertising products and deals, tricking people into handing over their financial and personal information and selling fake items.
How to protect yourself from this scam
- Don’t feel pressured – the idea of time-sensitive deals of sales can pressure you into making a purchase that you haven’t probably thought through. Take a moment to think about what you’re buying, where you are buying from and how.
- Do your research – before purchasing anything online, look at the reviews for the product from other customers, which you can spot as they may have over the top praise for the product, be posted alongside other comments within the same time frame or be written with odd formatting or bad grammar.
- Trust your instinct – if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
- Check for the padlock – make sure the website you’re buying from is secure by looking for a padlock symbol in the corner of your browser.
- Take care when using links – you may receive emails and texts with links to offers and deals. Many of these will be genuine, however the best way to know for sure is to type the address into the address bar, or search for the website on a search engine.
- Be cautious with your information – you shouldn’t need to give unnecessary personal information when purchasing a product. Fraudsters can use this information to steal your identity.
Detective Sergeant Stacey Shannon, of GMP’s economic crime hub, said: “Everyone loves to grab a deal however, it is often the high-pressured nature and fear that the deal will run out that leaves people vulnerable to being scammed.
“GMP wants to equip people with all the top tips to look out for, so that everyone can shop safely online and fraudsters don’t get hold of your hard earned money.
“The most important thing is to take your time and don’t rush into buying something – if you think its sounds too good to be true, then don’t take the risk.
“We will be sharing tips for shopping online safely during the run up to the festive season, so follow our @gmpfraud Twitter account to stay up to date with the latest scam advice.”
If you have been affected by this report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk