This festive season the City of London Police is running ‘The 12 online frauds of Christmas’ campaign to protect millions of people across the country from falling victim to cyber-fraudsters.
Kicking-off on ‘Black Friday’ (Nov 28) – the start of the busiest four days of the year for internet shopping – the National Policing Lead for Fraud (CoLP) will be leading a UK-wide drive involving 37 local forces to raise awareness of a dozen online frauds that could ruin your holiday fun.
The campaign starts by shining a light on the ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ of online shopping. This is followed by a special ‘Cyber Monday’ focus on Christmas e-cards and the danger of opening unknown email attachments and links which could be carrying a virus (malware) that can embed itself and then corrupt your smart phone, tablet or laptop.
And then, every 24 hours for the next ten working days, we will be working with all our police partners and a range of public and private sector supporters including the Home Office, Get Safe Online, National Trading Standards, Crimestoppers, Victim Support, British Banker’s Association, Intellectual Property Office and Financial Conduct Authority.
Together we will be flagging up the campaign’s 12 festive online threats, identified by the City of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB). Our running order is:
- Nov 28: Online shopping fraud
- Dec 1: Christmas e-cards
- Dec 2: Auction fraud
- Dec 3: Holiday fraud
- Dec 4: Loan and investment scams
- Dec 5: Ticketing fraud
- Dec 8: Donating to charity
- Dec 9: Mobile malware/malicious apps
- Dec 10: Money transfers
- Dec 11: Social media scams
- Dec 12: Dating/romance scam
- Dec 15: Mobile payments
So far in 2014 74% of all adults nationwide have bought goods or services online, and this December around 50% of UK citizens are expected to use the internet to buy more than half of their Christmas presents. The good news is the majority of us will still have our presents delivered to our doorstep or into our email account without a hitch.
However, the sad reality is there will also be tens of thousands of people across the UK whose Christmas will be damaged, and in some cases destroyed, after discovering they have fallen foul of heartless criminals who specialise in tricking internet users with the promise of great online deals and big cash savings.
To spread the word far and wide about ‘The 12 online frauds of Christmas’ campaign the City of London Police will be sharing top safety tips via traditional and social media and through its own community engagement teams. More internet safety advice can also be found at www.cyberstreetwise.com and www.getsafeonline.org
The force will also be urging anyone who has had the misfortune to fall victim to one of the dozen festive frauds, or any other type of cyber-fraud, to report to Action Fraud – the City of London Police-based national reporting centre – on 0300 123 2040 or online.
And if the City of London Police has the evidence to take direct action, either sent through from the NFIB or handed to the force by local victims, officers will move swiftly to disrupt and shut down online criminal activity and identify and find those responsible.
City of London Police Commander Steve Head, who is the National Police Economic Crime Coordinator and overseeing ‘The 12 online frauds of Christmas’ campaign, said: “Easy access to the internet has revolutionised the way we shop and pay for Christmas gifts and festive breaks, and how we go about searching for a New Year romance. Unfortunately it has also made us vulnerable to crooks that specialise in creating online cons that lure people in with the promise of cheap deals and stress-free purchasing, or that corrupt our smartphones, tablets and lap tops with computer viruses.
“The key to staying safe this December, and throughout 2015, is to understand the nature of the threat we face and to have easy access to information that will keep us out of the clutches of cyber-fraudsters. This is why we have created the ‘The 12 online frauds of Christmas’ and set-up a unique nationwide law enforcement and public and private sector partnership to deliver the key online information and safety tips to millions of people who will be using the internet in search of the best possible gifts and the most stress free festive period.”
Minister for Modern Slavery and Organised Crime Karen Bradley said: “The run-up to Christmas is a prime time for fraudsters and we are determined to stop them taking money from hard-working people. That is why we are supporting this City of London Police campaign. By improving the police’s capability to tackle cyber and economic crime through the National Crime Agency, City of London Police and dedicated fraud units in every region, we are relentlessly pursuing and convicting cyber criminals.
“However, we can do much to protect ourselves, such as using recommended methods of online payment rather than transferring money directly to a seller. Keeping tips like this in mind, and visiting the Cyber Streetwise and Action Fraud sites for more information, will help people stay safe online this Christmas.”
Tony Neate, CEO, Get Safe Online, said: “Every year there’s a mad rush as shoppers get online to order presents in time for Christmas, starting with Black Friday. Shopping online can be a great convenience for Christmas shoppers but we also need to stay vigilant and take care with what we’re buying, who we’re buying from as well as how to pay for purchases.
“Sadly, year on year we hear about people thinking they have got the perfect Christmas gift for someone but they end up disappointed because they didn’t recognise the most common scams out there. We are urging online shoppers to take a step back and think before they buy – always question if it is too good to be true, do your due diligence to check the authenticity of the site or product and make sure you use secure and protected methods of payment.”
Notes to editors:
• Since April 2013, Action Fraud has been responsible for recording all non-emergency fraud crime reports for police forces in England and Wales. Action Fraud now collects and transfers to the NFIB approximately 18,000 reports of fraud, 15,000 information reports and 2,000 computer misuse reports each month coming from members of the public as well as small, medium and large businesses.
• The City of London Police runs the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB). The NFIB is the central repository for fraud and cyber crime intelligence, analysing millions of reports (including those from Action Fraud) to identify serial fraudsters, organised crime gangs and emerging and established crime threats. This intelligence is used to provide law enforcement agencies across England and Wales with the information they need to launch criminal investigations and to raise awareness across the country and in the public and private sector of the latest threats. The City of London Police is responsible for the entire end-to-end service – with all staff located in the same office in the Square Mile.
• City of London Police Commander Stephen Head and Head of Action Fraud Pauline Smith are available for media interview upon request. Requests for interview should be made to Merryn Hockaday or George Haslock, Action Fraud Communications Officers, on 020 7601 2220 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.