A WARNING has been issued after 4,500 card and online frauds in six months.

The figures were identified by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) who carried out a fraud review of Essex between April and September 2018.

The total loss to the victims, either businesses or individuals, is thought to be approximately £6.5 million.

The figures show that that age range likely to fall victim of fraud is between 30 and 49, and the age range less likely is under 19.

Detective Chief Inspector Lee Morton, head of Essex’s fraud team, said: “Fraudsters continue to use the anonymity of the internet to trick people and businesses into handing over their hard earned money for their own financial gain.

“While they may use some sophisticated tactics, there are also some very simple steps you can take to deter them.

“In an age where more and more people are using hand held technology, be it on the train going home from work or waiting in a shopping queue, it’s vital to evaluate your online behaviour.

“These steps may help you avoid clicking on a fake advert on social media, it may prevent fraudsters gaining access to your personal details and it may stop you buying a product that doesn’t exist. We need your help to detect and disrupt criminals.”

Essex Police have issued the following advice for people to stay safe.

  • Do not give any personal information to organisations or people before verifying they are genuine;
  • Do not click on phishing emails. Banks and other financial organisations will not ask you to click on a link to confirm details;
  • Use a spam filter. If you detect a phishing email, mark the message as spam and delete it;
  • Never respond to an email from an unknown source and take care not to click any embedded links;
  • Look out for poor spellings and emails containing vague terms, this may be a scam;
  • Install up-to-date anti-virus software and a firewall on your computer and ensure your browser is set to the highest level of security notification and monitoring to prevent malware issues and computer crimes;
  • Be extremely wary of post, phone calls or emails offering you business deals out of the blue. If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.

For more advice please visit https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud.

Any fraud victims or people who know someone who has been a victim of fraud shoudl call 101 or visit https://www.essex.police.uk/do-it-online/ or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.