The Police
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Online Safety

Choose carefully where you shop. It's worth doing some research on online retailers to check they're legitimate. Read
feedback from people or organisations that you trust, such as consumer websites.

Use a credit card for online payments

When it's time to pay for your items, check there's a 'closed padlock' icon in the browser's address bar. The padlock icon doesn’t guarantee that the retailer itself is legitimate/reputable (and that their website is secure). It means that the connection is secure. The store may also ask you if they can save your payment details for a quicker check-out next time you shop with them. Unless you're going to use the site regularly, don't allow this.

Keep your accounts secure. If you're using the same password for your online accounts (or using passwords
that could be easily guessed), then you're at risk. Hackers could steal your password from one account, and use it to access your other accounts. For this reason, you should make sure that your really important accounts (such as your email account, social media accounts, banking accounts, shopping accounts and payment accounts like PayPal) are protected by strong passwords that you don't
use anywhere else.

Watch out for suspicious emails, text messages and websites.  If you think your credit or debit card has been used by someone else, let your bank know straight away so they can block anyone using it. Always contact your bank using the official website or phone number. Don't use the links or contact details in the message you have been sent or given over the phone.

If you've lost money, tell your bank and report it as a crime to Action Fraud (for England, Wales and Northern Ireland) or Police Scotland (for Scotland). By doing this, you'll be helping to prevent others becoming victims of cyber crime. If you don't receive the item (or it doesn't match the description given), Citizens Advice has some useful information about getting your money back if you paid by credit card, debit card or PayPal.

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Message Sent By
Christopher Neal
(Staffordshire Police, PCSO, South Staffordshire)

Neighbourhood Alert Cyber Essentials