Staying Safe Online
Online fraud and cybercrime cost UK consumers billions of pounds each year. Whilst there are many legitimate companies online, sadly, there are many fraudulent ones.
You can stay safe online by following a few simple steps:
1. If you know the website address of the website you want to use, type it into your web browser’s address bar, not a search engine search box. This will ensure you go directly to the website.
2. Check that the website is operated by a registered company. If it is not, then it is operated as a sole trader business (or is hiding its registration information). A sole trader business isn’t a problem per se – there are many great sole trader companies. But it could be an issue if the company is claiming to be a big organisation. You can check the length of time a company has been operating and where it’s based by going to: https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/
3. Look to see if the registered company/website is a member of a nationally recognised and or Government registered approval scheme or trade body. This information will normally be featured in a prominent position on the company’s website.
4. Read reviews from previous customers. Looks for reviews on recognised platforms such as Trustpilot, Ekomi, Reviews.co.uk and others.
5. When paying online, always look for the padlock symbol in the address bar which means the connection is encrypted. If in doubt, and where possible, pay by credit card or PayPal.
6. Browse the company’s social media pages to see what is written there. You can also see when the pages were created.
7. Help others by reporting rogue companies to Trading Standards: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/get-more-help/report-to-trading-standards/
If you’ve been the victim of a deed poll scam, you can make a report to the NDPA. The NDPA collate reports and supply information to Trading Standards and other bodies.