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Rise in online fraud prompts warning from police

03 May 2013 - 09:34 by Mike Price

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An increase in the number of people falling victim to online scams in the Midlands has caused the local authorities to issue advice to consumers, about how to avoid fraudsters when buying products online.

Warwickshire Police spokesperson, Detective Inspector Mark Glazzard, said that web-based fraud had been on the rise over the past two months, with both e-commerce sites and online auction services proving to be problematic.

Glazzard explained that there are a number of ways for cybercriminals to take advantage of unsuspecting consumers, including tactics such as asking for upfront payment or requesting that users install software on their PC, which turns out to be malicious rather than helpful.

Although there are plenty of entirely legitimate places to carry out safe shopping online, it can be difficult to tell the difference between a reputable outlet and a dodgy dealer, if you are unfamiliar with the world of e-commerce.

The police advise that people in the Midlands and across the UK use extra caution when buying from the web. It is best to stick to sites that have well established brands and which you have used safely in the past.

If you do want to use a site about which you are unsure, it is best to do some research and find out whether it really does offer safe shopping online.

A quick Google search should throw up information about any potentially harmful sites, but if you are still in any doubt, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Deals that look too good to be true are a good indication that you are dealing with a scammer and there are other telltale signs to look out for, so do some research and you should be able to shop in safety.