NEIL Hamilton, Leader of UKIP Wales and AM for Mid & West Wales, is urging constituents to take care when buying online over Black Friday weekend.

Mr Hamilton, Party Spokesman for Culture, is backing Dyfed-Powys Police’s financial and cyber experts who are warning people ahead of the busiest online shopping event of the year.

Mr Hamilton said:

“Understandably, with Christmas just around the corner, people will be looking for a bargain between Black Friday, November 23 and Cyber Monday, November 26 but it is important to heed sensible advice.

“Many thousands of shoppers will be buying goods using the internet over that weekend and I welcome the timely warning from Dyfed Powys Police.

“Their advice and tips will help keep you safe from fraudsters who, especially at this time of the year, will be trying to take advantage of shoppers who fail to take the necessary security precautions.

“All too often we hear about people who have been defrauded and it well worth taking a few minutes to make sure you don’t become a victim of online crime. Recently, a friend of mine was scammed out of £30,000 by extremely clever conmen.  He is an astute businessman and if it can happen to him it can happen to anyone. So Beware.”

Lois Arthurs, Digital Communications and Cyber Crime Unit manager, said: “The hype over huge discounts over Black Friday weekend mean everyone is in a rush to pick up a bargain and not miss out on the chance to save some money ahead of Christmas. Unfortunately, this rush can mean people forget about security measures and can end up on fraudulent websites and are at threat of falling foul of scammers.

“The upsurge of online activity over the two days is taken advantage of by fraudsters, who want to steal your personal details either for financial gain or for further criminal activity.

“Phishing scams or links sent in emails about eye-catching offers are always tempting. We urge you to take a minute and think about whether the offer or the site you are accessing is legitimate.

Neil Hamilton AM

The DCCU team has also given the following tips on keeping safe online:

* Remember to use sites with https at the start of the URL. The ‘s’ stands for secure.
* Make sure there is a green padlock on the left of the browser, if not, this could mean you are on a fraudulent site.
* Use credit cards to pay for online items as they offer protection if things go wrong with a purchase.
* Beware of phishing messages that claim to be from trusted organisation such as your bank or HMRC or familiar retailers but are set up to trick consumers into revealing personal details.
* Avoid shopping on public wi-fi. Use your own 3G/4G network, or just wait until you get home.
* If something is a lot cheaper than the retail price, this could be a scam. The item could be poor quality, fake or non-existent.
* Use methods like PayPal when buying on auction sites.
* Never click links on unsolicited emails or text messages. Criminals can make them look like they come from a legitimate business or organisation.

For more information and tips on staying safe online, visit www.getsafeonline.org

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