People in Lichfield and Burntwood who shop online are being urged to take steps to make sure they don’t become victims of fraud.
The warning comes from Staffordshire Trading Standards and it’s hoped the guidance will help to protect online shoppers.
A spokesman said:
“More people are using the web to buy anything from DVDs and concert tickets through to cars and holidays. While most web transactions pass without problems, people need to be aware that online crime is on the increase.”
The trading standards team is asking people to take on board the following advice:
- Fully research products before purchase
- Shop around but be careful of comparison sites as they’re rarely independent
- Look out for hidden extras – VAT should be included and delivery charges should be clear
- Shop securely – ensure the website is secure at the point of payment
- Make sure full business contact details are provided and not just a trading name or PO Box number
- Make sure the website includes cancellation rights – by law, buyers have seven working days (starting from the day after they receive their goods) to cancel their contract with the supplier
- Look out for unfair or unreasonable terms and conditions
- Vary your passwords – using the same ones for everything increases the risk of online fraud
- Use a credit card if possible for sales over £100 and avoid ‘moneywire’ services such as Western Union or Moneygram
- Keep records of all transactions
Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture Ben Adams said:
“Many of us buy products online now as it’s a quick and convenient way of shopping. However internet shoppers are increasingly being targeted by criminals and that’s why it is important people follow the advice we’re issuing.
“These are a few simple but important steps to take each time people buy online and they may well protect them from becoming victims of crime.”
If sales don don’t go according to plan, Trading Standards say people should remain polite and patient with the seller while they try to resolve an issue. They can also contact Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06 or visit www.consumerdirect.gov.uk.