CHESHIRE Police is supporting a new campaign which aims to make online payments safer for residents.

The campaign launches on Thursday, January 3 and focuses on how people can avoid falling victim to online fraudsters when making financial transactions.

Tony Neate, chief executive of Get Safe Online, said: “These days you can pay for almost anything online – products, services, tickets, holidays…even your next car, van or motorcycle.

“You can donate to charity, buy a driving licence or passport or pay to download, stream, play or gamble online.

“It is fast and convenient, but there are also risks attached, with cybercriminals doing all they can to divert your money into their pockets.

“Our new Safe Payments campaign aims to thwart these cybercriminals by informing people how they can protect themselves and their finances.”

The police are warning residents not to pay for anything by transferring money directly to people or companies you do not know, however eager you are to buy.

If it is a fraud, it is doubtful your bank or building society will be able to recover or refund your money, as fraudsters will make sure that it disappears very quickly.

Detective sergeant Chris Maddocks, from Cheshire Constabulary’s Cyber Crime Team, said: “Unfortunately there are a number of pitfalls when it comes to making payments online, with cybercriminals ready to take advantage of those who are not as vigilant as they could be.

“People need to be aware of ways to make sure that the online payments they make are safe and secure, to both protect their finances and to stop criminals in their tracks as they look to commit online fraud and cyber and cyber enabled crime.

“As such, we wholeheartedly support the new Safe Payments campaign and urge people to be vigilant and follow our partner organisation Get Safe Online’s advice when paying for things online.”