A shared service delivering Environmental Health, Licensing and Trading Standards across Bracknell Forest Council and West Berkshire Council

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15th November 2022 - Black Friday and Cyber Monday Safe Online Shopping Reminder

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Safe Online Shopping Reminder

As we approach Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we’d like to warn the public to take extra care when shopping online.

A common tactic used to defraud victims is the use of fake websites that are purporting to be reputable companies. These websites are created to look identical to the real website they are imitating but will sometimes advertise items at a much cheaper price. In reality, these websites are fake and the victim will never receive the item they have paid for.

How to protect yourself

Do your research - If you’re making a purchase from a website, or person, you don’t know, carry out some research first. Look for reviews, a website security ‘padlock’ icon, or a seller’s history if buying from an online marketplace.

Get payment protection: Use a payment method that offers buyer protection, such as a credit card (for goods or services over £100) if you have one or other payment methods that offer protection such as ‘PayPal's Buyer Protection’ (but NOT the friends and family option).

Stop and think: See an amazing offer on social media or a website? Lots of fake social media accounts are created with amazing offers tempting you to click through. This can be used as a means to either hack your social media account, gather personal data from you or take payment for an item you’ll never receive.  If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

Watch out for phishing emails or texts: Some of the emails or texts you receive will be fake. If you are unsure, don't use the link and visit the website directly instead. If you receive an email you’re not quite sure about, you can report it by forwarding the email to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service at report@phishing.gov.uk. You can report suspicious texts you have received by forwarding the original message to 7726, which spells SPAM on your keypad.

Staying secure online: Remember to use a strong, separate password for your email account. Criminals can use your email to access other online accounts, such as those you use for online shopping. You should also enable two-factor authentication (2FA), where possible.

Remember to:

  • Stop: Take a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
  • Challenge: Could it be fake? It’s okay to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
  • Protect: If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, contact your bank immediately and report it to our Trading Standards team on 01635 519930 or email tsadvice@westberks.gov.uk or use our online form at https://publicprotectionpartnership.org.uk/make-an-enquiry/

For more advice on shopping safely online visit the Action Fraud website in the link below:

https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/onlineshopping

Bracknell Forest
West Berkshire
Wokingham