Police issue guidance on avoiding online fraud

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Police are offering advice to help you to stay safe when shopping online following recent data from Action Fraud.

Over the past two months, Action Fraud have received a number of reports from Derbyshire residents who have fallen victim to fraudsters selling poor-quality or non-existent items online.

Detective Inspector Rob King from the Economic and Cybercrime Unit said: “Online shopping is hugely popular and makes it easier than ever for people to buy and sell online, particularly on marketplaces and auction sites such as eBay, Etsy, and even Instagram. However, this also provides an opportunity for fraudsters.

“Action Fraud has received reports from victims who have purchased items on Instagram, Gumtree, and other selling sites, however, when they have arrived they have been of poor quality, less valuable than advertised, or simply never arrived.

“It is important to be aware of the signs to look out for when buying online, and take extra steps to protect your personal and financial details.”

Action Fraud has released the following advice to help you to stay safe when shopping online.

How to protect yourself from online fraudsters:

Check the item description carefully and ask the seller questions if you’re unsure of something.

Know the terms and conditions of any auction website, including dispute resolution policy.

Pay on the auction site every time and don’t click on links the seller sends to you. Never pay by money transfers; use a recognised service such as PayPal, which protects your money until you’ve resolved any problems with the seller.

How to spot the signs

The buyer or seller has a bad feedback history, or has only recently set up a new account to avoid a poor reputation.

You get a private message or email offering to buy below the current bid or reserve price or to sell a similar item after an auction has ended.

You find an expensive item for sale at an incredibly low starting bid. If an offer sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

If you have been affected by this, or any other fraud, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040, or visiting their website here

For more advice around fraud, visit the dedicated Stamp out Fraud webpage here