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People encouraged to report internet scams and phishing attempts

Posted on Friday 3rd May 2024

Staffordshire Trading Standards are reminding people to stay scam aware online and report any suspicious online emails or activity.

With the number of internet scams and email phishing attempts on the rise, authorities are encouraging people to report them so action can be taken.

Phishing scams are when criminals use scam emails, text messages or phone calls to trick their victims into divulging personal or financial information.  Criminals will often attempt to impersonate a genuine company and will use threatening tactics to pressure individuals to click on hyperlinks in emails, directing them to fraudulent but genuine looking websites.  Here, people will be asked to divulge personal or financial information. 

Scammers may also disguise viruses in emails, which if clicked on, could be inadvertently downloaded on the computer, and used to steal users information.

As of January 2024, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) recorded more than 29 million individuals reporting suspicious activity, resulting in the removal of 168 thousand scams from 306,400 website addresses.

Victoria Wilson, Cabinet Member responsible for Trading Standards at Staffordshire County Council said:

“In today's digital world, and where we conduct more and more day-to-day tasks online, it's more important than ever to be on the lookout for potential scams and phishing attacks. 

“Our Trading Standards service works hard to protect consumers and to make sure people have the know-how to spot them, report them and ultimately protect themselves from scams.  It’s vital that people remember not to click on unsolicited links and never provide personal information to people they don’t know.”

Officers are offering advice on how to reduce the chances of falling victim to these scams.  Tips include:

  • Stay aware and educated: Learn to spot common phishing tactics and scams and stay informed about new threats.
  • Verify sources and communications: Be cautious of unsolicited requests for personal information, verify the legitimacy of emails, links, and websites, and use two-factor authentication when possible.
  • Use security measures: Install and regularly update antivirus software, keep all software up-to-date, and report any suspicious activity promptly to relevant authorities.

If people are worried that they have been scammed, further advice and how to report them is available on the Staffordshire Trading Standards webpage.

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