Trading Standards Information and Advice: Protect yourself from online scams

East Sussex County Council Trading Standards warns consumers to protect themselves online after more than 19,000 scam emails have poured into the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) since a dedicated link was set up for people targeted online by fraudsters.

For years, criminals have been sending letters telling recipients they have won the lottery, are in line for a massive inheritance or have won a competition, and that to claim the prize they only need pay an administration fee.

Today their objective remains the same, but electronic mail is now the favoured vehicle to distribute the tens of thousands of scam emails that seek to persuade people to pay an advanced fee for a sum of money they will never see.

Trading Standards would now advise anyone who has thinks they have received a scam email to forward it on in the first instance to trading.standards@eastsussex.gov.uk but also to email@actionfraud.org.uk

Collecting intelligence of this nature is the key to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau being able to disrupt the activities of the fraudsters and target their networks for closure.

What should you do if you’ve received a scam email?

DO NOT do any of the following:

• click on any links in the scam email

• reply to the email or contact the senders in any way

• do not enter any information on the website that may open if you have already clicked on a hyperlink in the email

• open any attachments that arrive with the email.

DO the following instead:

Visit the Action Fraud website (http://www.actionfraud.org.uk/) where there is information on how to forward on your scam mail. When you send an email you are doing so over the open internet, which we cannot guarantee the security of. Therefore please do not send personal information, such as your address or bank account details, when emailing Action Fraud.

If you think you may have compromised the safety of your bank details and/or have lost money due to fraudulent misuse of your cards, you should immediately contact your bank.

For further information and advice or if you feel that you have fallen victim to a scam contact Trading Standards 0345 60 80 197.