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Online shoppers urged to be cautious on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

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SHOPPERS in Wales say they have been victims of internet fraud amid continued high levels of online crime and low levels of cyber security.

As Black Friday and Cyber Monday are expected to kick off an explosion in online shopping ahead of Christmas, with consumers expected to spend £8bn on deals, too many Welsh shoppers are still not protecting themselves online.

As a result, 17% of online shoppers in Wales are losing money due to a combination of internet scams, weak passwords and misplaced trust in websites.

New research from Sophos by Atomik Research shows Welsh consumers remain at risk of online cyber-attacks as they make some basic security mistakes:

·         Nearly two-thirds (63%) of survey respondents don’t choose a different password for each online account, which makes them easier to attack one step ahead of cyber criminals.

·         22% admit to using family members’ birthdays and pet names as passwords despite warnings that such information is readily accessible online – giving hackers vital clues to access data.

·         One in ten (13%) save their passwords on shared computers, rather than use an ‘on demand’ password manager

Half (50%) of those surveyed who had been victims of fraud say they have had money taken from their bank accounts without permission, 19% have had their credit card cloned and 31% have had their debit card cloned.

Half (51%) online shoppers say they have clicked on an apparently genuine email link that turned out to be fake and a quarter 18% say they have fallen victim to a phishing scam – where cyber criminals trick their victims into handing over user names, passwords and credit card details.

Adam Bradley, UK&I Country Manager at Sophos said: “The proliferation of online shopping over the past few years means it has become increasingly easy for cyber criminals to harvest data and personal information about consumers. Everyone loves a bargain, especially in the run up to Christmas, but Brits online need to make it harder for fraudsters by taking a few, simple online security steps.”

Sophos recommends taking the following online precautions before hunting for bargains over Black Friday and Cyber Monday:

·         Use a web filter. Web filters, like the one included in Sophos Home, stop you from browsing to websites that are known to be used for scams, phishing or spreading malware.

·         Use a password manager. Password managers create, remember and enter passwords for you, and they won’t enter your password into a phishing site, no matter how convincing it looks.

·         If it looks too good to be true, it is. Scams make wild claims and use familiar brands or friends and family to make them seem trustworthy. Stay alert – if something seems off, it probably is.

·         Check your bank statements regularly. You can reduce the chance that you’ll become the victim of a scam but you can’t eliminate it, so make a habit of checking how your money’s spent.

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Free parking in Ceredigion

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Car parking will be free in all Ceredigion County Council operated Pay and Display car parks on the three Saturdays before Christmas this year.

Parking charges at council operated Pay and Display car parks will be waived on December 7, 14 and 21 2019.

Rhodri Llwyd is Ceredigion County Council’s Corporate Lead Officer responsible for Highways and Environmental Services. He said. “Small businesses will be competing against online businesses for trade this Christmas. We want to do what we can to support Ceredigion businesses at this important time of year. We hope this step encourages more of us to shop locally this Christmas and enjoy what fantastic Ceredigion businesses have to offer.”

This decision contributes towards one of the council’s corporate priorities of boosting the economy.

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Ysgol Bro Pedr raise funds for life saving machine

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PUPILS at Ysgol Bro Pedr have raised enough money to buy a defibrillator machine for the school.

The idea came after 15 Year 11 pupils achieved their Level 3 Emergency First Aid Qualification with Ceredigion Youth Service. Pupils felt that it was incredibly important that they and others at the school had the skills, knowledge and equipment to use in an emergency.

Mrs Caryl Jones and pupils raised an outstanding £1,150 through organising a bake sale at the school on 28 March 2019. The school extends their thanks to Lampeter businesses ‘Oh My Cod’ and ‘Y Becws’ for their kind contribution towards the sale.

Guto Crompton, School Based Youth Worker said: “Although first aid is not a mandatory part of the school curriculum in Wales, young people at Ysgol Bro Pedr felt that it should be something that all pupils knew about. This would help them to know what to do in an emergency, whether that be in the school or out in the community. Pupils worked hard to achieve their First Aid qualification which covered aspect such as CPR, casualty management and the use of a defibrillator.”

The defibrillator machine will be placed in the school reception.

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It’s not too late: Ceredigion residents still have time to register to vote

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“CEREDIGION residents still have time to register to vote in the General Election on 12 December,” said the council’s Chief Executive and Acting Returning Officer, Eifion Evans.

Residents still have time to register to vote and to arrange postal or proxy votes if they want to do so. The deadline to register to vote is midnight on November 26. The deadline to register for a postal vote is 5pm on November 26 and the deadline to register for a proxy vote is 5pm on December 4.

Mr Evans continued, “Some residents may want to register for postal vote or a proxy vote. This could help people avoid possible wintry conditions of a December election, or young people who have moved out of county to study but still want to vote in Ceredigion.”

Residents can register to vote by using this link: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote or by calling the council’s Electoral Services Team on 01545 570 881.

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