A Warwickhire businesswoman says you need an old-fashioned crystal ball to keep up with the hi-tech cyber crime which cost the UK £9.8 billion last year.
Karen Rayner, who sells children’s furniture over the internet, has worked with county police and had meetings with commissioner Ron Ball in an effort to help as a community safety ambassador.
Above all, she wants to warn others about some of the ‘scams’ going on - some of which led to Warwick pensioners being robbed and others that nearly cost her livelihood.
Mrs Rayner, who herself lives in Warwick, said: “When people use credit cards in a shop there is some protection for retailers. But for all the business done online these days you need a crystal ball to know what is really going on.
“Last December I sold £1,200 worth of furniture to a Scottish couple who asked for it to be delivered to an address in Coleshill. All their details matched up and their credit card details came up as a low fraud score.
“Before despatching the goods I made three phone calls to banks over a period of 24 hours. All seemed fine...but the reality is it can take 180 days for online details to finally be approved...and no online business can operate like that.
“I lost that money and understand seven other businesses were taken in by the pair on the same day.
“Because of police help I was able to retrieve the sum and have been trying to work with them ever since because there are safety strategies that both domestic and business users can employ.”
As cyber crime awareness week starts on October 23, Mrs Raynor wants as many people as possible to visit the website www.getsafeonline.org
She said: “The internet has many benefits but cyber crime cost £9.8 billion in the UK last year and everyone needs to be made more aware of the risks.
“Don’t click on links in emails or social media, if you give old mobiles to children remember they will have a digital footprint, and never use Wi-Fi in cafes for banking.”