Opinion

The 12 scams of Christmas

My colleague Tanya has just posted over on our Russian site about losses caused by Internet fraudsters in England and Wales. If you want to practice your Russian, hop over there, and take a look!

Even though we’re a Russian company, we know that most people in the UK (including me!) prefer to get their news in English. So here’s a few facts and figures:

In a recent statement, the Office of Fair Trading estimated that losses caused by Internet fraud amounted to £14 billion per year. That’s a lot of money! It’s also a lot of victims!

The OFT statement quotes research carried out by the University of Portsmouth, commissioned by ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers) and NFA (National Fraud Authority):

  • 70,000 people fell victim to a single Nigerian e-mail scam
  • 38,000 people a year fall victim to fake prize draws
  • 10,000 people a year fall victim to investments scams
  • 14,000 people a year fall victim to fake lotteries

The report indicates that many people are reluctant to report fraud of this kind – because they’re ashamed, embarrassed, angry or simply confused.

The first thing to remember is that you should be very, very wary of ‘get-rich-quick’ schemes: if something looks too good to be true, it almost certainly is! Please don’t hand over money to complete strangers and avoid disclosing any personal information unless you know eactly who you’re dealing with. The NFA gives a helpful list of the ‘12 scams of Christmas‘ so if you’re in any doubt, check this list out.

If you do fall victim to an Internet scam, please do report it – you can do that here. Nobody’s going to judge you – on the contrary, the more reports are made, the better we can quantify the threat! Remember, we can’t begin to really manage the problem of Internet fraud and cybercrime unless we can measure it effectively.

The 12 scams of Christmas

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