The festive season is a peak time for cyber-fraud so West Yorkshire Police is highlighting ‘The 12 online frauds of Christmas’ to protect people from internet crime.

Last Christmas, between November 2013 and the end of February 2014, there were 485 reports of online shopping and auction fraud in West Yorkshire; netting criminals a total of £279,974.50.

online xmas shoppingKicking-off on ‘Black Friday’ (Nov 28) – which marks the start of the busiest four days of internet shopping of the year – the Force is taking part in a national campaign to raise awareness of a dozen online frauds that can cause misery and stress for communities this Christmas.

Most people will have presents delivered to their doorstep without a hitch but many people will fall foul of heartless criminals who specialise in tricking internet users with the false promise of great online deals and big cash savings.

Over 12 working days from today West Yorkshire Police will be flagging up the following online crimes:

Nov 28: Online shopping fraud
Dec 1: Christmas e-cards
Dec 2: Auction fraud
Dec 3: Holiday fraud
Dec 4: Loan and investment scams
Dec 5: Ticketing fraud
Dec 8: Donating to charity
Dec 9: Mobile malware/malicious apps
Dec 10: Money transfers
Dec 11: Social media scams
Dec 12: Dating/romance scam
Dec 15: Mobile payments

Throughout the campaign advice, support, help and tips will be provided to shop safer online. There will be daily messages on social media, a leaflet and a dedicated webpage with more details about each of these crimes and tips on how to avoid them.

West Yorkshire Police’s Force Crime Prevention Officer, Chris Joyce, said: “Christmas is a peak time for people paying for gifts and services online but there are criminals out there that see this as an easy way to make money.

“You always need to make sure both your financial and personal information is protected from cyber criminals. Fortunately, a high percentage of cyber enabled crime is preventable and simple steps such as having strong passwords and up-to-date anti-virus software can assist in protecting your personal and financial details”

“If you are even slightly unsure about the credibility of a website then don’t input your information and never open emails or the attachments that may come with them if you are not 100% sure of the source or the content has no relevance to you whatsoever”

“Over the next couple of weeks we will be providing a wide range of help and advice that will hopefully assist in protecting you and your online activity. If you are worried that you, or any one you know, may have been a victim of cybercrime, or have concerns about a website or online trader, then get in touch.”