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Residents warned to be on their guard against cyber criminals

Residents across Sefton are being urged to be on their guard against cyber criminals who may try to exploit the coronavirus outbreak and prey on people and their businesses.

These criminals are experts at impersonating people, organisations and the police. They spend hours researching people for their scams, hoping that people let their guard down for just a moment.

They can contact people by phone, email, text, on social media, or in person. They will trick people into parting with their money, personal information, or buying goods or services that don’t exist.

A spokesperson for Sefton Council said: “It is shocking to see cyber criminals and fraudsters preying on people in such a callous and predatory way during this difficult time”

“The council is committed to making our communities aware of these criminals preying on individuals and businesses and making sure they have the tools to keep themselves safe”

You can keep yourself safe by staying vigilant and reporting anything suspicious immediately.

If you think you have been scammed, defrauded or experienced cybercrime. Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime.

Alternatively, you can call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via Action Fraud

The National Cyber Security Centre has advice for businesses to protect themselves against fraud and cyber criminals.

Citizens Advice offers confidential advice online, over the phone, and in person, for free. You can contact them for support on issues you might be facing, if you’ve been a victim of fraud or a scam.

How to protect yourself against cyber crime and fraud:

  1. Stop

Take a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.

  1. Challenge

Consider if it could be fake – it’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests – only criminals will try to rush or panic you.

The police, or your bank, will never ask you to withdraw money or transfer it to a different account – they will also never ask you to reveal your full banking password or PIN

Do not click on links or attachments in unexpected or suspicious texts or emails

Confirm requests are genuine by using a known number or email address to contact organisations directly.

  1. Protect

Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud

To keep yourself secure online, ensure you are using the latest software, apps and operating systems on your phones, tablets and laptops – update these regularly or set your devices to automatically update so you don’t have to worry

Visit Take Five for more advice on how to protect yourself from fraud and Cyber Aware for advice on how to keep yourself secure online

 

How to protect your business

  1. Stop

If you receive a request to make an urgent payment, change supplier bank details, or provide financial information, take a moment to stop and think.

  1. Challenge

It could be a fake – verify all payments and supplier details directly with the company on a known phone number or in person first

  1. Protect

Contact your business’s bank immediately if you think you’ve been scammed and report it to Action Fraud