Essex fraud victims lose £6.5m in six months

Statistics show 4,500 frauds were recorded in Essex in just six months Picture: GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKP

Statistics show 4,500 frauds were recorded in Essex in just six months Picture: GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

New statistics show 4,500 card and online frauds were recorded in Essex in just six months – setting victims back millions of pounds.

Police are continuing to urge people to review their online safety settings after thousands of card and online frauds were recorded across the county in just six months.

The figures were identified by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB), which carried out a fraud review between April and September 2018.

The total loss to the victims, either businesses or individuals, was around £6.5million.

The figures show people aged between 30 and 49 are most likely to be caught out, while those under 19 tend to be safer.

Detective Chief Inspector Lee Morton, head of Essex’s fraud team, said: “Fraudsters continue to use the anonymity of the internet to trick people and businesses into handing over their hard earned money for their own financial gain.

“While they may use some sophisticated tactics, there are also some very simple steps you can take to deter them.

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“In an age where more and more people are using hand held technology, be it on the train going home from work or waiting in a shopping queue, it’s vital to evaluate your online behaviour.

“These steps may help you avoid clicking on a fake advert on social media, it may prevent fraudsters gaining access to your personal details and it may stop you buying a product that doesn’t exist. We need your help to detect and disrupt criminals.”

The top tips from Essex Police are:

• Do not give any personal information to organisations or people before verifying they are genuine

• Do not click on phishing emails – banks and other financial organisations will not ask you to click on a link to confirm details

• Use a spam filter – if you detect a phishing email, mark the message as spam and delete it

• Never respond to an email from an unknown source and take care not to click any embedded links

• Look out for poor spellings and emails containing vague terms, this may be a scam

• Install up-to-date anti-virus software and a firewall on your computer and ensure your browser is set to the highest level of security notification and monitoring to prevent malware issues and computer crimes

• Be extremely wary of post, phone calls or emails offering you business deals out of the blue – if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is

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