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Warning over internet scams and tips to keep yourself safe

Cheshire Police warn that many internet scams take place without the victim even noticing.

Scammers may attempt to put programs on your computer that can steal, wipe or lock your data. To prevent this ensure you have anti-virus software and a firewall installed on your computer and keep it up to date.

If you are aware of the following precautions and apply common sense, then you should be able to prevent yourself from becoming a victim.


-Scammers can use the internet to promote fraud tough unsolicited or junk emails known as spam. Delete the email, otherwise the scammer will continue to send you more and more emails from lots of different addresses.

-Any email you receive that comes from an unknown sender is likely to be spam, especially if it is not addressed to you personally and promises you some again.

-If you receive an email with an attachment from someone you know, but it is not the usual sort of message you get from the DO NOT open the attachment. Speak to the person who is supposed to have sent it to confirm its origin. It may have been infected with a virus and forwarded through their address book.

-Online market places can be a lot of fun and can save you money, but they are also used by scammers. Scammers will try to steer you away from online sites and request that you use unusual payment methods e.g. money transfer agents or Emoney a digital equivalent of cash.

-The most common scams at the moment, are for concert and event tickets, apartments, residential and holiday lettings, dating and romance and vehicles for sale or hire (especially if hire vehicles are to be delivered to you). Adverts and websites can be very sophisticated, so do some research to ensure everything makes sense. Always consider your personal safety when meeting anyone you have met on the internet.

-Be careful of bogus official looking websites, claiming to assist in applying for passports, visas and driving licences.

-There are lots of ways scammers gain personal and/or financial information from victims -e.g. Phishing (unsolicited mail purporting be from a legitimate company requiring personal details), Vishing (voice over cold calling purporting to be from a legitimate company requiring personal details) and Spear Phishing (Type of phishing scam that focuses on an individual or department within an organisation, addressed from someone within the company in a position of trust). Using these methods, scammers request information such as login details and passwords.

-Never give your personal or financial details to anyone, unless you know and trust who you are giving them to.

For further fraud prevention advice, go to Get Safe Online.

REMEMBER: Delete all messages without reading them if they are from somebody you do not know. If you open it by mistake, and it has an attachment, do not open that attachment. It may be a virus.

CAUTION: Do not reply to spam emails even to unsubscribe, and do not click on any links call any telephone number listed in a spam email. Ensure you have up to date anti-virus and firewall software.

THINK: Why is this person contacting me? Be wary of any request to use an unusual payment method.

INVESTIGATE: Make sure the sites are genuine as some business websites can be copied, cloned or redirected.


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