Cyber attacks: Former Harrogate Mayor speaks out after becoming a victim of online fraud

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Councillor Stuart Martin, who is a former Mayor of Harrogate and is the newly appointed Chair of North Yorkshire County Council, and his wife, April, are just two of a growing number of people who have been targeted by online fraudsters during the pandemic.

Stuart was contacted by his bank a few weeks ago to say that there had been suspicious activity on his account. His security had been breached and £3,100 taken, which the couple eventually got back.  Criminals also tried to get money from a charity account to which April was a signatory 19 times.

They are now warning others to be on their guard and say if you can remember your account password it is probably not strong enough.

You can watch the ITV Calendar news story featuring Stuart Martin and his wife here.

What can you do to avoid becoming a victim of fraud? 

Action Fraud advises the following:

  • Use a strong and separate password
  • Enable two-factor authentication (2FA)
  • Be cautious of social media messages that ask for your login details or authentication codes, even if the message appears to be from someone you know
  • If you can’t access your account, search the company’s online support or help pages for guidance on how to recover your account
  • Report suspicious emails you have received but not acted upon, by forwarding the original message to report@phishing.gov.uk
  • If you cannot access your account as it has been compromised, follow National Cyber Security Centre’s guidance
  • If a demand for payment is made to regain access for your account, do not pay any money, as it is likely the suspect will continue to demand more money instead of giving control of your account back

For more help you can visit the following websites:

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