PCC welcomes website security check initiative

Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Peter McCall, is welcoming a new initiative that will allow the public to check if a website is safe before they access it.

The new feature is hosted by Get Safe Online, a cyber-security organisation the PCC commissions in Cumbria. Get Safe Online has partnered with Cifas, the UK’s leading fraud prevention service, to launch ‘Check-a-Website’. The innovative new feature invites users to check if a website is safe to use before accessing. It is expected to prevent thousands of people in the UK falling victim to unwanted online scams every year.

Criminals are increasingly turning to the internet to target victims, with malicious and spoofed websites becoming increasingly sophisticated. These websites are designed to steal the financial and personal details of users – which are often used to facilitate identity theft. The latest data from Cifas has revealed that there was a 43% increase in cases involving identity fraud filed to the National Fraud Database in Quarter one of 2022 when compared to the same period last year, with 9 in 10 instances of identity fraud taking place online.

Check a website is an easy-to-use online tool which helps determine whether a website is likely to be legitimate or a scam before you visit it. Users simply type in the address of the website they want to check, and their results will appear within seconds.

Provided in the UK by Get Safe Online, in conjunction with Cifas, ScamAdviser, Barclays and other partners, it cleverly uses an algorithm to provide a trust score based on more than 40 data sources as well as thousands of reports of malicious websites from law enforcement agencies, regulators and consumer brands every week.

Hosted on Get Safe Online’s UK website, individuals can also access this new feature using the below link: https://www.getsafeonline.org/checkawebsite/

Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, said: “Cyber criminals are becoming more and more sophisticated with their scams so it’s really important that we learn to spot the signs of potential scams and fake websites.

“This new feature on the Get Safe Online website adds another layer of protection for the public as it is a safe place to find out if a website that is unfamiliar is safe or not.

“Cyber-crime has increased by 15% in Cumbria in the last twelve months, so we know that criminals are developing their skills to target trusting individuals.

“This is why I commission Get Safe Online in Cumbria, to provide the public with information and advice on how to keep themselves as safe as possible online.

“I would urge everyone to visit the Get Safe Online website, try the ‘Check a website’ feature and read up on how you can protect yourself online.

“If you have been the victim of a cyber-crime, please report it to the Police on 101 or to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.”

Tony Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online, comments: “For over 15 years Get Safe Online has been providing online safety advice and tips for individuals and small businesses to ensure all of us can use the internet safely and with confidence.

“The internet is amazing, but as with so many things, there are downfalls to look out for when using it – scams, fraud, people trying to exploit you and your personal information.

 “Launching ‘Check a Website’ today is revolutionary and we are very excited to be able to finally offer individuals the opportunity to literally ‘check a website’ before they use it.

“We are also hugely grateful to our partners who have helped to make it happen – now we just want to let as many people know about it as possible so the UK can benefit from this new capability and help improve the united fight against scammers.”

Mike Haley, Chief Executive for Cifas said: “This is a great tool for aiding consumers in the continuing fight against online fraud.

“The devastating impact of fraud can result not only in the loss of income or sensitive personal information, but also a loss of confidence when navigating an increasingly digital world.

“By being able to quickly check whether the website you’re visiting is credible, you can be safer online, reduce your exposure to illegal websites and have peace of mind knowing that you are defending yourself from cyber criminals.”

The tool was originally devised in 2012 and has been the subject of continuous improvement by the ScamAdviser technical team ever since. It has been used successfully in the Netherlands and Portgual, and the UK is latest to benefit from its unique capabilities.

Check a website is supported by a number of organisations. Primary Supporters include Get Safe Online, Cifas and Barclays, and Associate Supporters being Cyber Defence Alliance, National Trading Standards Scams Team and Skipton Building Society.

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