More of us than ever exposed to Internet perils

According to the Office for National Statistics 87.9% of adults in the UK (45.9 million) had used the Internet in the last three months compared with 86.2% in 2015. 10.2% (5.3 million) had never used the Internet compared with 11.4% in 2015. Although the number of women over 75 years old had been the fastest growing group less than a third of them had been recent users in 2016. This means that not only are women over 75 less likely to be subjected to fake news, they are also not going to be exposed to Internet crime.

Remember when you buy online it is best to pay by credit card because if there’s a problem with the product, the credit card company may be responsible as well as the trader. However before you submit your credit card details to an Internet website, make sure it’s a secure site (look for the padlock icon).

Beware of phishing. You may receive convincing emails apparently from a genuine company – often your bank – asking you for personal account information. Never give passwords or pin numbers, as your bank would never ask you for them. To avoid phishing scams, log into your online accounts, bank and credit card statements regularly – the more often you check your accounts, the quicker you’ll spot any problems.

Spam emails are usually sent to a large number of email addresses. Many advertise illegal products, scams and pornography. It’s against the law for anyone to send you marketing material by email unless you’ve given your permission. However this is difficult to enforce, especially if the email is sent from overseas.

If you receive an email from an unrecognised source (especially if it contains a link or attachment) or an unusual email from a sender you don’t recognise, don’t open it as it could contain a virus that will damage your computer. Delete if in doubt.

Finally be aware of lottery scams – yes they are still around. If you get an email telling you that you have won a lottery prize just delete it and certainly never send any money or call premium rate numbers (which usually begin 09 in the UK) to claim your prize.

If you have a problem with Internet crime call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0845 404 0506.

For advice on how to recover Internet losses and to get information and advice on Benefits, Work, Consumer Issues, Relationships, Housing, Law and Rights, Education, Discrimination, Tax and Healthcare you can;

– call 0344 848 7969 to speak to an assessor or make an appointment to talk to an adviser face-to face. (calls to this service cost the same as calling 01 and 02 numbers included as part of a mobile allowance or a landline call package.

– visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk to access our comprehensive range of information and advice,

– visit waverleycab.org.uk to find out what’s happening at Citizens Advice Waverley

You can follow us on Twitter @WaverleyCAB

Share this article