Professor Mike Jackson is a cyber expert at Birmingham City University’s Business School

The UK is under siege from scammers who are using technology to try and steal from us. Scamming costs the UK £27m a year – and that’s just the reported cases.

Wherever there are large amounts of money changing hands, criminals will have an interest. With the explosive growth of internet shopping there has been an associated growth in scamming activity. The Internet makes an ideal hunting ground for such people, as it is easy for them to be anonymous and to carry out their activities in areas of the world where they are difficult to locate.

Almost everyone who has an email address will have received a scamming email at some point in the past.

In the early stages of internet use, some of these were hilarious with outlandish claims and incredibly poor spelling. Nevertheless, some normally intelligent and careful people were led to believe these scamming emails and found out to their cost that they had been conned. From phoney job offers to European lottery wins and fake Airbnb accounts, the scammers are becoming more devious to trick you out of your cash.

They use logos, which make their messages look authentic and their messages have a tone which makes them very believable. It is often much harder to tell the difference between a bargain and something which is dishonest.

None of us want to give up the advantages of online shopping. So in order to be safe on the Internet we need to take more care. Always be suspicious of something that looks too good to be true, it probably is! Never use sites unless you can be absolutely certain they are genuine. Never click web links in email messages unless you are really sure you know the person who sent it to you. Be suspicious rather than trusting.

‘Scammers’ Monday 18 May ITV 9 – 10pm, highlights some of the ways in which people have fallen prey to email scammers

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Mike Jackson

Mike Jackson

Director of Academic Quality & Enhancement Birmingham City Business School