Police have issued advice for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Make sure you follow these safety tips. Picture: JANE BARLOW/PA WIRE

Make sure you follow these safety tips. Picture: JANE BARLOW/PA WIRE - Credit: PA

Police have released online safety advice for shoppers looking for a bargain on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Kent and Essex serious crime directorate’s cyber crime unit has issued simple tips to help you remain secure as you browse the web.

Aimee Payne, a cyber crime protection officer, said: “An upsurge of online activity over these two days poses an increased threat to shoppers, who are at risk of falling foul of fraudsters who want to steal your personal details either for financial gain or for further criminal activity.

“Phishing scams or links sent in emails about eye-catching offers, are always tempting. We urge you to take five minutes and think about whether the offer or the site you are accessing is legitimate. Taking those extra minutes to think before hitting the click button can help prevent you becoming a victim of online crime.

“Remember, the internet is always evolving and there are people out there looking for new ways to con people out of their hard-earned money.”

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The below tips can keep you safe online:

• Remembering to use sites with https at the start of the URL. The ‘s’ stands for secure.

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• Make sure the green padlock is on the left of the browser, if not, this could mean you are on a fraudulent site.

• Always use credit cards to pay for online items, they offer consumers protection if things go wrong with a purchase.

• Beware of phishing messages that claim to be from trusted organisations such as your bank or HMRC or familiar retailers but are set up to dupe consumers into revealing personal details.

• Avoid shopping on public wi-fi. Fraudsters can hack into the network and access user details. If you’re shopping online use your own 3G/4G network or a VPN, or just wait until you get home.

• If something is cheaper, this could be a scam it could be of poor quality, fake or just non-existent.

• Use methods like PayPal when buying on auction sites.

• Consumers must be extra vigilant and think twice before clicking on the link in any unsolicited messages, as these may take you to fraudulent websites.

• Never click on unsolicited emails or text messages. Criminals can make them look like they come from a legitimate business or organisation.

If you want more information on fraud visit this website.

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