Online shoppers are being asked to think about safety and security on Black Friday and Cyber Monday by Thames Valley Police.
Black Friday, which this year is on November 27 and Cyber Monday, which is on November 30, will see thousands of shoppers taking to the internet and stores in search of a bargain.
Research by national internet security awareness organisation Get Safe Online (GSO) showed a 42 per cent increase in financial loss to individuals and businesses, as a result of online fraud during the festive season last year (up from £9.5m in 2013 to just under £16.5m in 2014).
Det Ch Supt Ray Howard, of Thames Valley Police’s Force intelligence and specialist operations, said: “When it comes to online crime, an event like Black Friday or Cyber Monday presents an opportunity for criminals to target victims who may have their guards down. Shoppers are advised to remain vigilant and take precautions to ensure they do not fall victim to online fraud or theft, whether it’s this weekend or in the run-up to Christmas.”
Advice includes sticking to trusted websites, being wary of clicking on links in emails that could take you to a scam website, keeping electronic records of purchases, checking bank statements for any unauthorised transactions and having up-to-date anti-virus and firewall software.