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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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Llanelli: Stop notice issued for school planning application

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A CONTROVERSIAL planning application for a new 480-spaced school in Llanelli has been issued a stop notice by the Welsh Government.
Carmarthenshire County Council is proposing to build a new £9.1m school on Llanerch Fields in Llanelli and were looking to determine the planning application in the coming weeks. Welsh Government will now decide whether to call in the application or not.
The new school would accommodate 420 primary and 60 nursery pupils, set over two floors with larger classrooms with integrated IT facilities, a multi-purpose hall and specialist provision for pupils with additional learning needs.
Over recent years there has been much debate in the area on the choice of site for the new school with campaigners arguing that they support a new school, but object against Llanerch fields being built upon. Last year an attempt to get the land designated as a village green was turned down.
In 2017, Ysgol Dewi Sant as the first Welsh medium primary school to be provided by a local authority celebrated its 70th birthday.
Councillor Rob James, local member for Lliedi, stated “From day one I have raised concerns that the Council’s site choice and planning process opened the Council up to the possibility of the Welsh Government calling in the planning application. It is clear that these concerns were not misplaced and there is now a really chance that it will be. 

“As a local Councillor, a school governor and a parent, I am passionate about the need for a new school for the pupils of Ysgol Dewi Sant and it is important that local pupils get the benefits of a 21st century school.
“I will now be working with Council Officers to ensure that contingency plans are prepared in case the Welsh Government state that the planning application does not comply with national planning policy.
“I will also work with parents, pupils, residents and interested parties are able to engage with the Welsh Government during this process.”

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Third annual Burry Port Raft Race is eagerly awaited

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THE THIRD ANNUAL BURRY PORT RAFT RACE, organised by Burry Port couple, Craig and Isabel Goodman, will be held on Saturday (July 27).

The event which is held in Burry Port Harbour, raises much needed funds for both Burry Port RNLI and a children’s football academy and primary school the couple support in The Gambia.

The day launches at 12pm with stands, food stalls and children’s inflatable games and rides and these will be available until 5pm. You’ll also have a chance to meet the crews, who’ll be busy putting the final touches to their rafts.

Rafts launch at 3pm, followed by a presentation ceremony, including prizes for first raft over the line, first raft to sink and best dressed raft.

Craig said: ” A huge thank you goes to all our sponsors, including overall sponsor Dawsons, along with continued sponsorship from Celtic Couriers, Parker Plant Hire, Burns Pet Nutrition, Burry Port Co-Op, Llanelli Star, LBS Builders Merchants, Burry Port Marina, First Choice Flooring and Pembrey and Burry Port Town Council.

For any further information about the event, please contact 07825 842981.

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Compensation offered after FSCS declares Llanelli firm in default

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CONSUMERS could get back money they have lost as a result of their dealings with a failed regulated firm in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire. The firm is Hayden Williams Independent Financial Services Limited formerly Assura Protect, Room 1, 7 Meadows Bridge, Parc Menter, Cross Hands, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, Wales SA14 6RA.

The firm was declared in default in June 2019 by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

FSCS is the UK’s statutory compensation scheme that protects customers of authorised financial services firms that carry out certain regulated activities. A declaration of default means FSCS is satisfied a firm is unable to pay claims for compensation made against it. This paves the way for customers of that firm to make a claim for compensation with FSCS.

Alex Kuczynski, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at FSCS, said: “FSCS steps in to protect consumers around the UK when authorised financial services firms go bust. This vital service, which is free to consumers, protects deposits, insurance, investments, home finance and debt management. We want anyone who believes they may be owed money as a result of their dealings with this firm to get in touch, as we may be able to help you.”

Since it began in 2001, FSCS has helped more than 4.5m people, paying out more than £26bn in compensation.

If you wish to make a claim with FSCS against Hayden Williams Independent Financial Services Limited, you may be able to do so using FSCS’s online claims service at https://claims.fscs.org.uk Or you can contact its Customer Services Team on 0800 678 1100 or 020 7741 4100

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