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October 10, 2013

Don’t become a victim of fraud

The City of London police have been doing its bit to prevent fraud. The rest is up to us.

By Cbr Rolling Blog

Nobody wants to be taken for a mug. Becoming a victim of fraud is not pleasant so City of London Police, quite rightly, has recently spent time educating members of the public about the dangers of fraud and how to ensure people don’t become another statistic.

Of course, the criminals are to blame but there really can’t be any excuses for not taking the time to learn about the dangers of fraud. A lot of it is also common sense.

I once met a guy who bought a parrot online. He saw an advert for the bird on a website and contacted the advertiser. The bird seller claimed to be based in Wales but asked for money to be transferred to a Nigerian bank account. That’s when alarm bells should be ringing but in this case there was silence. The guy just didn’t seem to think it odd. The cash was sent, the bird didn’t exist and the chap became a victim because he hadn’t taken some simple steps that could have prevented him from coughing up cash in exchange for naught.

If you ever want to buy a bird, just let me know and I’ll tell you how it can be done safely but, for now, I’ll focus on the advice that the police has been giving out in London this week.

Subjects touched on were ID crime, social networking and online shopping. Information provided at police workshops include:

ID Crime

A bank will never ask for your PIN or for a whole security number or password; Don’t throw out anything with your name, address or financial details without shredding it first; Have a secure place to store confidential documents at home

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Social Networking

Be wary of publishing identifying information about yourself; Ensure you have effective and updated antivirus/antispyware software; Pick a user name that does not include any personal information.

Online Shopping

Use a secure payment site such as Paypal; Pay with a credit card; Before entering payment card details on a website, ensure that the link is secure; Web addresses should begin with ‘https://’; If the seller is a business, check their real-world existence.

To some people, it might seem like pretty obvious stuff but not everyone is experienced with the likes of online shopping and fraudsters will always try their luck with new techniques, so it’s great that the police are doing their bit to help people protect themselves.

Whether it’s an individual or a business, prevention is always better than the cure and if you’re ever unsure about security, just take a step back and think about. Take the time to do some research and take advice from people who should know better than you. If in doubt, find out – and stay safe.

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