A timely seasonal holiday warning (source
) that if a deal looks too good to be true then you might lose a lot more than your pride...
E-Crime Unit take down fraudulent websites
18 November 2011
New Scotland Yard
Online shoppers are less likely to fall foul of internet fraudsters this Christmas after more than 2,000 fraudulent websites were suspended following action by the Met's Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU).
Working closely with domain name registries and registrars, detectives from the unit have identified and instigated action against counterfeit and fraudulent sites which affect thousands of unassuming consumers and generate millions of pounds for the criminals behind them.
The sites in question generally purport to sell a raft of designer goods, including brands such as Nike, GHD, Tiffany and Ugg.
Innocent online shoppers are duped into handing over their money in exchange for what appear to be ‘bargain’ purchases. Those items then either never materialise or are revealed to be counterfeit goods.
Victims of the sites also run the risk that the criminals behind them could potentially steal their identity, credit card and banking details for criminal activity elsewhere.
DI Paul Hoare, PCeU said: “The sites suspended are registered in bulk by crime groups with the sole intention of duping consumers into parting with their money for, at best, poor quality counterfeit goods, at worst, nothing at all. In the run up to Christmas the PCeU will continue to work with Nominet and other registries to disable as many such sites as possible but I would urge customers to take all precautions to ensure they buy from legitimate sites only.”
Online consumers can take some precautionary measures to reduce their chance of becoming a victim of such websites:
= Know who you are dealing with - Check manufacturers' websites to ensure you are buying from an approved and reputable retailer
= Be careful how you pay - If the purchase is over £100 consider using a credit card to protect your purchase, buy goods online through secure and encrypted payment systems, don't be drawn off the site to other forms of payment and consider separate credit cards or accounts for online shopping.
= Protect your personal details - Don't give away personal details unnecessarily, don't ever reveal passwords or PIN numbers.
= Protect your computer - Ensure you have up-to-date anti-virus software on you computer, use a firewall and update you computer's software regularly.
Beware of unsolicited or spam email offers.
Further advice can be found at:
Consumer Direct www.consumerdirect.gov.uk
Get Safe Online www.getsafeonline.org
Metropolitan Police Service Fraud Alert web site www.met.police.uk/fraudalert
We've all seen suspicious sites and occasionally, often with fellow members acting as "spotters", we Mods, and Gordon of course, have even had to remove spam related content but I confess I was shocked by the scale of the problem. And even though the Met has suspended "more than 2,000 fraudulent websites" I don't believe for one moment that they have solved the problem world-wide even if those of us in the U.K. might feel, possibly unwisely, a little less vulnerable.