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.
Safe zones in Ceredigion town centres
Plans are being put into place to create safe zones for pedestrians in Ceredigion town centres.
Most of the county’s towns have a historic street layout with narrow footways and traffic running through them so as businesses re-open and visitors return to these areas there is insufficient space for people to keep a safe distance from one another.
Our towns will look different to how they did a few months ago but changes will mean businesses can re-open safely whilst also ensuring residents’ and visitors’ health and safety can be maintained.
The plans being developed by council officers include closing off roads to traffic during the day to create more space for shoppers to walk safely, particularly as large numbers of tourists and students return to the county. It’s also aimed at helping businesses too by creating more outdoor space for retailers and the hospitality sector to trade. It is important that the Council acts quickly to put arrangements in place as quickly as possible and these initial arrangements will be continually reviewed.
To do this, spaces for traders will be re-defined, some roads will be closed to traffic, pavements will be de-cluttered by removing street furniture (and other items), visitors will be asked to park away from the town centres for free and signage will be introduced to help visitors maintain safe distances.
These changes will protect the community and people’s health whilst ensuring businesses can still trade.
Further information on the safe zones will follow.
Keep Ceredigion safe.
Information related to the Coronavirus can be found on the Council’s website, www.ceredigion.gov.uk/Coronavirus
Wales’ hospitality sector will prepare to re-open outdoors from 13 July
The Minister signalled the first phase of a planned reopening for bars, restaurants and cafes with outdoor spaces following a rapid review of the sector.
A final decision about outdoor re-opening will be made at the next review of the coronavirus regulations on 9 July and will depend on whether rates of coronavirus are continuing to fall.
Future decisions about indoor re-opening will be made later and will depend on the success of the first phase of outdoor opening.
The Minister will today also confirm the timetable for re-opening outdoor visitor attractions and the partial opening of the tourism industry in Wales for the remainder of the summer season.
If the requirement to stay local is lifted in Wales on 6 July, outdoor visitor attractions will be able to reopen from Monday.
And, subject to the forthcoming review of coronavirus regulations on 9 July, the tourism sector is preparing to re-open self-contained accommodation.
The Minister will today confirm the date that owners of self-contained accommodation can accept bookings is being brought forward to 11 July from 13 July, to help with the pattern of Saturday-to-Saturday bookings.
Minister for International Relations and the Welsh Language Eluned Morgan said:
“Tourism is a vital part of the Welsh economy at a national, regional and local level. I’d like to thank all our industry partners for working with us to carefully reopen the visitor economy.
“A successful, safe and phased return will give businesses, communities and visitors confidence to continue with the recovery of the visitor economy.
“We ask everyone who travels to and around Wales to enjoy their time here, but always to respect local communities. We are looking forward to welcoming visitors back to Wales – but we want everyone to Visit Wales Safely.”
Guidance to help businesses in Wales’ visitor economy has been published this week. Further guidance for cafes, bars and pubs will follow.
Visit Wales has also worked with the other national tourism organisations on a UK-wide industry standard and consumer mark to provide reassurance as the sector works towards reopening.
The Good To Go industry standard and supporting mark means businesses can demonstrate they are adhering to the respective government and public health guidance; have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment and checked they have the required processes in place. The scheme is free to join and open to all businesses across the industry.
Folly Farm are ready to welcome back its loyal annual pass holders from 8 July and will open to all on 13 July.
Zoe Wright, head of marketing at Folly Farm, said:
“We’ve been preparing for our re-opening for several weeks and are looking forward to welcoming visitors back to Folly Farm, safely.
“We’ve been hugely encouraged by the support we’ve received from our visitors and our local community. Lots of local accommodation providers have been sharing our staying safe re-opening guide ahead of their guests returning.
“We’ve got lots of measures in place to keep our visitors, staff, animals and our wider community safe, including the essential pre-booking of visits so we can limit visitor numbers and provide even more space across our 120-acre site. As an animal attraction, we’re naturally geared up to offer and encourage regular handwashing but we’ve added hand-sanitising stations across the park too.
“Our animals provide a fun way to encourage visitors, especially the younger ones, to follow our social distancing signage with paw prints marking out a safe distance in queuing areas and penguin and pig themed arrows for our one way systems.”
Sean Taylor, Founder & President of Zip World is making preparations to open on 6th of July and said: “As one of North Wales’s biggest outdoor tourist attractions, there is a huge responsibility in the way we restart our operations. We have a strong sense of community and have an important role to play in rebuilding the region’s visitor economy all of which has to be managed responsibly and firmly in line with the current government guidelines.
“We have spent the last few months rethinking the logistics of our operations to keep staff, customers and the community safe. To begin with, the reopening will be a staggered approach by only opening two of our three sites initially and 6 of our adventures. This means a reduction in capacity and we have also introduced robust hygiene regimes, clear wayfinding & signage, PPE and the use of tech where possible to reduce consumer touch points. There is now a simple 6 steps guide for all customers to follow before and during their visit – this includes signing the waiver online pre visit, contactless payments etc.”
South West Wales Virtual Open Day 8 July
Welsh local authorities, schools, colleges and work-based learning providers will be hosting
a series of Virtual Open Days for Year 11 pupils for the first time this month.
An event specifically for pupils from Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Neath
Port Talbot, Llanelli, Swansea and Powys will be held on Wednesday 8 July and will cover a
series of sessions on post-16 options including A Levels at sixth form or college as well as
Jonathan Davies OBE will host the sessions on apprenticeships and traineeships and will be
on hand to field questions about how to apply and get the most from industry-led training
Other sessions will be led by Pembrokeshire College, NPTC Group of Colleges, Coleg Sir
Gar and Coleg Ceredigion as well as Careers Wales and local authorities.
The spread of COVID-19 has not only meant a break in students’ learning, but also the
cancellation of many planned events like open days which were scheduled to take place
throughout the summer.
Open days are vital ways of helping Year 11 pupils to understand all their options for
continuing their education and deciding on the right path for them. It’s also the way pupils
make connections with new people and different environments to support them in making
With no indication yet of when face-to-face events might be able to go ahead again, over
220 schools, colleges and work-based learning providers across Wales are partnering with
the Welsh Government to hold virtual sessions for all Year 11 pupils in Wales to make sure
nobody misses out.
Organised by Welsh Government and hosted by Working Wales, the Virtual Open Days will
enable young people across Wales to discover the options for furthering their education in
their area, including what school and college courses are available, as well as training
opportunities like apprenticeships and traineeships, and access to careers advice from
Live sessions will be held for each region across Wales from 7 – 10 July, with lots of
additional content available throughout the second week of July and beyond. There will also
be the opportunity to put questions to local careers advisors and learning providers who
know about the provision in your area.
Virtual Open Days will be hosted online, but those without internet access at home will have
the option to phone and speak directly with schools, colleges and work-based learning
Welsh Government will be providing information about the full range of Virtual Open Days,
as well as links to partner websites and content, on Working Wales where there will also be
advice for those students who are unsure of what they want to do next.
Kirsty Williams, Minister for Education, said: “Now more than ever, it’s vital that young
people are equipped with the skills, information and training they need to find fulfilling work.
“If you’re a young person, you may be unsure of what you want to do after school, or
whether you want to continue in education at all. Open days can play a vital role in helping
access the right education or training, providing a vital insight into the different courses and
ways of learning that are available to young people considering their next options.
“Virtual Open Days are a really innovative way to explore options digitally and will help
young people in deciding what to do next. Whether you are shielding at home, returning to
school to say goodbye for the summer, or are not sure what to do next, our national virtual
open days will ensure learners in every region of Wales have the opportunity to engage and
ask questions at this important time.”
Nikki Lawrence, chief executive of Careers Wales, said: “Deciding what the next step is with
your education is an important time for young people across Wales and we want to make
sure that they are still able to explore the different options that are available.
“During the four days we will be offering additional support from our expert careers advisers
who will be available via our live web chat. This will enable young people who are not sure
what the next step is to get the advice and guidance they need.”
To find out more about Wales’ Virtual Open Days, call Working Wales on 0800 028 4844 or
go to www.workingwales.gov.wales/start-your-story.
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