Stay safe online this Christmas

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By Ilkeston’s Inspector Nick Daines

I dare say that with Christmas just around the corner, most readers will be well into their present buying-and a great deal of that will be shopping online..

Unfortunately, criminals know this too.

I have previously encouraged you to go to websites dedicated to helping you to keep safe online. I would also recommend you visit the Constabulary’s own site www.derbyshire.police.uk, where you can look at the ’12 Online Frauds of Christmas’.

This gives advice on a number of the scams that criminals will use to try to trick you out of your hard-earned cash-many of them prevalent at this time of year. Even if you have already done most of your shopping, you can still stay safer for the rest.

One scam that particularly caught my eye was around bogus ‘e-cards’. These days, many people like to save the postage, and send friends and relatives electronic Christmas cards via e-mail.

Many of these are genuine, but cyber-criminals create their own versions, which you certainly don’t want to open. These can contain a virus (malware) that will embed itself onto your electronic device —all without your knowledge —and collect personal data, financial information, usernames and passwords, that the criminals can then use to commit fraud.

Of course, it’s very nice when it looks like someone’s taken the time to send you a card. But unless you know where it’s come from, it’s better to delete it, and be safe rather than sorry.

On the subject of our website, we now have a very useful addition to our ‘Contact us’ Section.

Very often, people call the police about some issues simply because they don’t know who else to call.

We now list a lot of information about, and the contact details for a number of other organisations, who might be the best people to help you with your problem-from Trading Standards, to noise nuisance to parking issues. It’s always frustrating to be passed around, so hopefully this will help you get in touch with the right person first time, more of the time.

And finally, on behalf of all at the police station, I’d like to thank everyone who has helped us over the last year in our efforts to keep Ilkeston safe.

We hope the festive season brings you all you wish for, and you enjoy a happy and peaceful Christmas and New Year.