The police in Cheshire, who also performs online investigations, have advised citizens to stay safe and avoid giving out any sort of information about themselves and their online accounts. A number of organisations have used email for scams and fraud under the guise of banks and government organisations.
The police issued this statement further advising people to avoid giving away bank details, addresses, and telephone numbers without a verification of their identity. Legitimate emails from banking and finance institutions will never send emails that ask for the person to click certain links that lead to websites that ask clients to fill in information.
Links from emails are advised to be avoided as much as possible, and to log on to websites directly via their internet browsers. Online identity thieves are known to use phishing sites that look very similar to legitimate websites to use the information users log in with for their own purposes.
Cheshire police further advised everyone to remain vigilant when it comes to transactions that are made through email or anywhere online, and never to click on any link or site that does not have an image of a padlock seen in the browser’s address bar.
People are also advised to transact with caution when it comes to payments made online, and to always use a verified means of payment, such as visa verified payment options or paypal. Paypal imposes a contingency measure for refunding, and users that have an account can file complaints if the item the user has ordered does not arrive as described or does not arrive at all.
Online fraudsters are also known to use fake or stolen identities in dating websites to trick people into wiring money or sending nude images after developing a sufficiently close relationship with people who fall for their ruse. A website that receives its funding from the government, www.getsafeonline,org, contains information and helpful tips for people to avoid being victims of scams and fraud.