Nottinghamshire Police is warning people about the dangers of shopping online at Christmas - after individuals and businesses lost more than £136,000 last year across the county.
This is in light of figures from last Christmas, which show that individuals and businesses in Nottinghamshire lost £136,981 to online fraudsters through online shopping and auction fraud. Nationally, £16,426,989 was lost, a 42 per cent increase in total financial loss.
Last year’s report shows that the most common time for victims to initially make contact with the fraudster was on Black Friday and Cyber Monday as people head online to try and bag the best festive bargains.
The force is supporting a campaign in partnership with Action Fraud and Get Safe Online warning the public that online crime is “most definitely coming to town.”
Sam Hancock, crime prevention manager at Nottinghamshire Police, said: “It never fails to surprise me how cruel and shameless online criminals can be over the festive season, working as hard as they can to con people out of their presents.
“If you think you have been a victim of fraud, then please call Nottinghamshire Police on 101. There is lots of advice to help you becoming a victim of fraud here or by visiting Action Fraud’s website.
“I hope you all have a safe and happy Christmas, and that you will take on board the advice given on Facebook and Twitter. By working together, we can hopefully stop online crime coming to town.”
The most common item being bought and sold by victims and fraudsters were mobile phones. People reported trying to get good deals on some of the most popular models of smart phones, but what they thought was going to be a bargain never actually arrived leaving them without presents to give on Christmas day. Others reported being defrauded whilst trying to buy footwear, clothing, watches, gaming consoles, computers, furniture and home electricals.
Over the next ten working days, Nottinghamshire Police say it will be providing practical fraud and cyber crime protection tips on social media, aiming to prevent people from getting conned out of the Christmas that they deserve.
Police national coordinator for economic crime, Commander Chris Greany, said: “This Christmas we want everyone to think about their online activity, especially when they are about to buy something over the internet.
“When it comes to online shopping if something looks like it is a great bargain it’s probably poor quality, fake or doesn’t even exist.
“Fraudsters and online criminals are relentless and will stop at nothing, giving absolutely no thought as to whether you and your family are left without presents at Christmas time. The fact that nationally victims lost 42% more money last year compared to the year before suggests that fraudsters are making gains and are taking every opportunity they can during the festive period.
“The aim of this campaign is to provide advice which will help people to protect themselves and ensure that they don’t get conned out of Christmas.”