Renfrewshire MSP Derek Mackay is urging locals looking for a festive bargain to keep their details secure as figures reveal online crime cost UK consumers and business £10.9 million last Christmas.
Figures from Get Safe Online and Action Fraud show the figure decreased by 33% in total compared to the same period in 2014-2015.
They also found online crime cost the UK economy nearly £11 billion in 2015/16 – approximately £210 for each adult. However, the figures only represent cybercrime that is actually reported.
Record numbers of Scots are expected to go online this year, creating opportunities for retailers, bargain hunters but also cyber criminals.
Renfrewshire North & West MSP Derek Mackay said:
“We all use online shopping to find deals, particularly in the run up to Christmas and in the post-Christmas sales. However, while we all want to enjoy these bargains, we should also be vigilant about not providing opportunities to cyber criminals.
“There are a number of simple steps locals can take to protect themselves from becoming victims to this type of cybercrime. These include paying with credit cards, shopping only with shops and sites you know and trust, never sharing your password with anyone, and regularly changing your passwords.
“By taking these straightforward steps, we can all minimise the risk of Christmas being ruined.”
Tony Neate, CEO, Get Safe Online commented:
“Christmas is supposed to be a time of good will. Unfortunately, this is not always the case when it comes to the online world with cybercriminals seeing the festive period as the perfect time to prey on unsuspecting members of the public who are looking to buy gifts online for loved ones. The fact that so much money is being lost over the season means that we need to be doing more to protect ourselves when making purchases.
“We want the public and businesses to take that little bit of extra thinking time to double check to see if the product they are purchasing is coming from a legitimate website before making a payment. We also strongly advise people do their research beforehand too in order to look for any customer reviews which often act as a good touch point for safe online shopping. If your instincts tell you that something is “too good to be true”, then our advice would be that it probably is, so be sure you don’t given away any personal details or payments – after all it’s better to be safe than sorry.”