TAKE a minute to think before clicking a link – that’s the advice from financial and cybercrime experts ahead of the busiest online shopping event of the year.

Officers from Dyfed-Powys Police’s Digital and Cyber Communications Unit and Financial Crime Team have given advice to people looking for a bargain between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

The weekend, which this year runs from Friday, November 23 to Monday, November 26, sees thousands of goods reduced, and as shoppers flock to pick up a bargain, the risk of being hit by fraudsters increases.

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.
“Taking that little bit of time to think before hitting the click button, rather than rushing in, can help prevent you becoming a victim of online crime.”

The DCCU 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 wifi. 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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