Police issue advice on how to stay safe in Boxing Day sales

Boxing Day (December 26) is traditionally the day when many retailers begin their sales, and this year it's likely more of us will be shopping online rather than heading to the high street.
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Before you start loading up your online shopping cart, South Yorkshire Police’s cyber protect officer Dannielle Lee has provided some top tips to ensure you stay safe.

She said: "The Boxing Day sales are a great opportunity to pick up some bargains, with a number of retailers usually slashing their prices.

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"Unfortunately, cyber criminals won't have taken a break for Christmas so please make sure you follow my top tips to prevent your hard-earned cash from ending up in their hands.

"There has been a 30 per cent surge in online shopping fraud over the pandemic, as many of us have switched to shopping online due to the Covid restrictions, so it's more important than ever that you take steps to stay safe."

Here are Dannielle's top tips for staying safe:

- Research the retailer to ensure they’re legitimate by reading reviews and checking consumer websites. If you receive an email with an amazing offer, it may contain a link to a fake website. If you're not sure, search for the website instead and follow the link in the search results.

Cyber Protect Officer Dannielle Lee.Cyber Protect Officer Dannielle Lee.
Cyber Protect Officer Dannielle Lee.

- Use a credit card: Most major credit card providers give you online purchase protection, meaning you may get a refund in certain circumstances if things go wrong.

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- Don't give away too much detail: Only fill in the mandatory details on a website while making a purchase - you shouldn't need to provide any security details.

- Keep your accounts secure: Make sure you don't have the same password for all your online accounts. Create passwords using the National Cyber Crime Centre's suggested method of putting together three random words, such as tablechairbrush.

- Be wary of suspicious emails and texts: If something doesn't feel right, forward emails to [email protected], and texts to 7726.

- If you think you've been scammed: If you think your credit or debit card has been used by someone else, contact your bank immediately to get it blocked. If you have lost money, tell your bank and report it as a crime to Action Fraud on 0330 123 2040 or actionfraud.police.uk.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.