Online shopping and finance scams
Online scams can include phishing websites and other forms of online information theft.
How to avoid online scams
- install antivirus software and keep it updated
- turn on your firewalls
- look for the green padlock in your browser's URL bar. Genuine websites use SSL to encrypt data transmission and their web URL begins with https://
- change your passwords frequently and use a new password for each account
- when using public Wi-Fi, do not select from the list available, ask a member of staff the exact name of the connection
- government services including car tax, provisional driving license, passport renewal, European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and Blue Badge renewal can all be found on the official government website - ensure when searching for these services online that you go via this site (beginning with www.gov.uk).
- if you think your email or password has been compromised, clean your PC with antivirus and change your password immediately
- don't make your email address public on different websites.
Phishing websites look like legitimate sites that are designed to trick you into giving personal and financial information, pay for a service you could get cheaper or for free or buy counterfeit goods you thought were genuine.
Spot a phishing website:
- check the website's URL. Phishing websites usually have the URL slightly different from the genuine website
- look for spelling and punctuation errors. Often English is not the first language of the scammers and they might miss some errors when they proof read
- examine images and logos. Look carefully, as they might be distorted and have poor image quality.
- be wary of pop-ups. If you navigate to a website and a pop-up shows up asking you for username and password, shut the pop-up and leave the website.