Guest blog: Kate Lloyd, Cyber Protect Officer
I joined Gwent Police in 2019 as a Cyber Protect and Prevent Officer. It is my job to work with communities, schools and businesses to help them stay safe online.
This involves giving advice on how to spot online scams, how to ensure our online accounts are safe and secure, and some of the dangers to look out for on social media.
Although we have had to work differently during the pandemic, we have been incredibly busy. Sadly, criminals quickly realised they could prey on people’s fears and take advantage of their isolation during lockdown, and we have seen a lot of different scams over the last year.
Common scams at the moment include phishing emails claiming to be from the Amazon, Netflix, DPD etc. If you receive one of these emails avoid clicking any attachments or links and always check the email address of the sender as it is often a giveaway that the email isn’t legitimate.
A large number of people are now receiving scam emails and texts that appear to be from the NHS, asking for personal information and bank details in order to receive a coronavirus vaccination. The vaccine is free of charge and at no point will you be asked to pay.
If you are suspicious about an email you have received, forward it to email@example.com. If you receive a call you believe to be fraudulent, hang up.
Remember, if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is.
We are also helping parents to keep their children safe online. With most children learning from home, screen time is at an all-time high and it can be hard to constantly monitor what they are accessing. Parents can help keep their children safe by making sure to set up parental controls to manage their time online and that they are accessing age appropriate sites and content.
Although you can’t limit everything they see online, there are features in apps such as Tik Tok called Family Pairing so you can restrict content, disable comments and messages, and set your child’s profile to private. We recently filmed some videos in a campaign called STOP-TALK-PROTECT that gives more advice on how to stay safe.
As part of Safer Internet Day 2020, the UK Safer Internet Centre has also produced a series of free resources design to help parents and carers talk to children about staying safe online. You can download them from the UK Safer Internet website.
You can keep up to date with the latest advice and scams by following the Gwent Police Cyber Crime Team on Twitter via @GPCyberCrime.
If you have any questions, or would like me to give a talk to your group or business, please contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org.