Warning after online shopping scams are reported in Gloucestershire
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In the past week, Gloucestershire Constabulary has received further reports about tricksters defrauding people in fake online shopping scams.
On Friday, police received a report that a man from Cheltenham had paid hundreds of pounds for a dog he had seen advertised for sale on a website.
After turning up at the address given to collect the dog, it was found to be a random unrelated address, a scam which sadly has been seen all over the country.
The fraudsters ask for deposits or full payment and then provide a random address to collect the animal.
The following day police received a similar report that someone from Gloucester had paid an £100 deposit for a puppy seen advertised for sale online.
After a couple of days of paying the deposit the seller stopped responding to them.
Action Fraud has issued a warning about this scam, and Gloucestershire Constabulary is urging people to be cautious when arranging to purchase pets or items online.
More information about this fraud as well as advice from Action Fraud can be found here: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/news/animal-lovers-looking-for-pets-in-lockdown-defrauded-of-nearly-300000-in-two-months
In a separate online scam, a person from Gloucester paid an £1,000 deposit for a car seen advertised for sale on eBay. The seller provided a false address from which to collect the vehicle.
There have also been a number of reports of Studio online catalogue accounts being used and it is likely these accounts have been compromised following a data breach, this is where companies have data stolen by a cyber-criminal which can include email addresses and passwords.
To check if you’ve been part of a data breach, please visit www.haveibeenpwned.com.
If you have been part of a breach, please change your password as soon as possible to protect your account.
The National Cyber Security Centre advice is to use three random words, that are as long as possible, to make a strong password and not to re-use passwords across multiple accounts so if one account is compromised, your others are safe.
Password managers can help you create, store and remember your passwords in a safe way. For more advice on password managers, please visit https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/collection/top-tips-for-staying-secure-online/password-managers
Anyone who believes they have been the victim of a scam can report it to Action Fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040. Alternatively information can be reported to police by calling 101.