Renfrewshire Council

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Protect yourself from online scams this Black Friday

Cyber security architect Carol Peters warns colleagues about the heightened online risk at this time of year.

Carol Peters As Black Friday rolls around each year, cyber criminals are hiding in the shadows, ready and poised to take advantage of online shoppers who are looking to bag a great deal in the run up to the holidays. Make sure you have completed your mandatory cyber security training so that you are prepared to spot a scam and keep yourself and the Council safe.

Five top tips to help you stay safe while shopping online:

  1. Don't transfer money for goods or services. This makes it much harder for your bank to recover your money in the event of a scam. Paying by credit card is a safer option.
  2. Look out for cyber criminals and scams on social media, online marketplaces and auction websites.
  3. Make sure payment webpages are secure by checking for the closed padlock symbol and 'https' ('s' is for secure) in the address bar. But be careful as fraudsters can also create secure webpages, so more checks are required.
  4. Check a website is genuine by pasting the link into
  5. Look out for 'missed delivery' scams.  Fake messages about deliveries are still a big thing. No matter how busy you are, it's wise to keep a record of everything you buy online and which company is delivering your parcel so you can contact them separately if you have any concerns.  

Protect yourself, protect the Council

If you get caught out by a cyber attack while using a council device, it could lead to severe consequences like immobilising our internal systems, preventing the delivery of essential services, disrupting salary payments and the theft of colleagues and residents' personal information.

Our ICT team are always working hard to protect our council network. But it only takes one person to get caught out by an online scam for cyber criminals to gain access to our systems. That's why it's everyone's responsibility to complete the mandatory training and protect the Council network.

Don't forget you can also complete the related iLearn training modules on Cyber Security: Top tips for staff and Passphrases and security.

Visit the National Cyber Security Centre and RenSafeOnline for more advice and guidance on staying safe online.

Published on Thursday 23 November 2023