By Spy Uagnda
Kampala: The mandate of the Uganda Police Force as provided in the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, and Uganda Police Force Act Cap 303, is protection of life and property, prevention and detection of crime, keeping law and order, and maintenance of overall Security and Public Safety in Uganda thus release of the following security advice for your safe festivities.
Cyber Security: Online shopping
Follow these top tips to shop safely online this Christmas:
- Make sure a website is authentic by carefully checking the address is spelled correctly. Ideally, type it in rather than clicking on a link in an email, text or post. It’s easy for scammers to set up fake websites that are very similar to the real thing.
- Make sure payment pages are secure by checking that addresses begin with ‘https’ (‘s’ is for secure) and there’s a closed padlock in the address bar. The https and closed padlock mean that the page is secure, but the site could still be operated by fraudsters.
- Social media sites/apps and online forums are a popular place for advertising gifts, tickets and holidays. Many are genuine, but you need to be aware that others are fraudulent. Be extra vigilant about checking that such ads are authentic.
- However desperate you are to buy that late present or an item that’s in short supply, don’t pay for it by transferring money directly to people or companies you don’t know. If it’s a fraud, your bank may not be able to recover or refund your money. If you can, pay by credit card. The same goes for holidays, travel and tickets.
- Log out of the web page or app when payment is completed. Simply closing it may not log you out automatically.
- Don’t knowingly buy fake or counterfeit goods and do all you can to make sure brands you do buy are genuine. Fakes are of inferior quality, contravene copyright law and affect the livelihoods of workers who make the real thing. They can also be unsafe in use.
- ‘Low-cost’ or ‘free’ trials can cause problems if you don’t read the small print and look for independent reviews. Whether they’re for the latest handset or slimming pills, you could be signing up for large monthly direct debits which are very hard to cancel.
- Learn how to spot fraudulent emails, texts or DMs, or fraudulent offers on social media. At this time of year, emails and other messages featuring ‘special offers’ and ‘prizes’ are commonplace. Don’t click on links in emails, texts or posts that you’re not expecting, and don’t open unexpected email attachments.
- Text messages and emails purporting to be sent by home delivery firms are also on the increase, commonly informing you that there’s a charge for re-delivering a parcel, or a shipping fee to be paid. However, busy you are or how much online shopping you do, keep a record of everything you buy and, if possible, which parcel delivery firm the retailer is using.
Scams are when criminals use lies and deceit to fool you into parting with your cash. You usually get nothing in return and lose your money. Scams are getting more sophisticated and difficult to spot so it’s important to know what to look for.
Spotting a scam
There are some signs that should set alarm bells ringing whenever you see them. Always be wary of the following situations:
- Something which sounds too good to be true normally is
- If you are contacted unexpectedly by a company
- If you have been asked for personal or bank information
- If you aren’t given long to make a decision or you feel pressured into making one immediately
- If you’re asked to pay anything up-front and the only contact details are a mobile number and a PO box address
- If you’re called repeatedly and kept on the phone a long time
- If you’re asked to keep quiet
Be aware that banks, building societies, utility companies, lottery organisers, law enforcement or statutory bodies will never:
- Ask for payment in vouchers
- Ask you to transfer money over the phone to a different account
- Ask for any part of your pin code
- Ask for remote access to your computer or mobile device
- Ask for money for a ‘free gift’, ‘admin fee’ or as part of a promotion
- Threaten to arrest you over the phone, in a letter or email for not paying a fee
- Ask you to go to the bank or building society to transfer money
If in doubt, apply the ‘scam’ test:
S – seems too good to be true
C – contacted out of the blue
A – asked for personal details
M – money is requested
This Christmas we want everyone to feel safe and secure in their home.
Most burglaries are opportunistic and there are simple precautions you can take to protect your home and belongings:
- Close and lock all doors and windows
- Keep gifts and expensive items out of view
- Mark valuable items in your home with your postcode and house number
- Don’t keep large amounts of cash in your home
- Consider installing a home security system. Set your alarm when going out and at night time.
- Leave a front room or bedroom light on if it will be dark before you get home. Consider
- security lights. To a burglar a dark house is an empty house
- Always check who is at the door. Not sure? Don’t open the door
- Always keep sheds and outbuilding locked and secure ladders
- If you notice suspicious activity or vehicles in your local area, make a note of relevant information – including vehicle registrations – and contact police straight away on 112 or 999 in an emergency.
Everyone has a responsibility to use the roads safely whether you are a driver, pedestrian, cyclist, biker.
There are simple things you can do to help keep our roads safe:
- Reduce your speed – especially in wet or icy conditions
- Never drive after drinking alcohol or taking drugs
- Pay attention – don’t be tempted to reach for your mobile phone
- Always wear a seatbelt
If you are out walking, cycling or horse-riding then please remember that to be safe you need to be seen, during the day and at night.
- Wear fluorescent clothing or accessories by day and reflective by night
- Cyclists must have front and rear lights lit between sunset and sunrise
- Riders should also consider reflective bands for your horse and lights for your arm, leg or riding boot
The rainy weather can make using the roads more challenging. Consider the following to make sure you are ready for the road:
- Tyres must be in good condition. A defective tyre could result in catastrophic consequences.
- All lights must be clean, working and correctly adjusted. Remember to use dipped headlights when driving in poor weather. Our advice is that if your vehicle wipers are switched on, so should your dipped headlights.
- If you have fog lights, use them when the weather is foggy, but remember it is illegal to use these lights at other times. Defective lights, or illegal use of fog lights, can result in a penalty notice.
- Windscreen wipers should be in good condition and the washer reservoir should be regularly topped up with a good windscreen wash solution and all windows must be clear of frost before setting off.
- Listen to the weather and travel advice on the news and if needs be, leave extra time to ensure you and your vehicle are properly prepared for any journey.
Please stay safe over the Christmas period and have respect for other road users. We will be on patrol across the road networks and in communities to help keep everyone safe.
If you are out and about this Christmas there are simple steps you can take to reduce the chance of being a victim of theft:
Be aware and vigilant of your surroundings and the people around you. Pay particular attention to your valuables if a stranger talks to you, bumps into you, offers you something or tries to distract you.
Only carry what you need and don’t carry large amounts of cash.
If you are using an ATM, be aware of who is around you. Conceal your pin number as you input it and put your card and cash away safely before leaving the ATM.
If you notice anything suspicious about the ATM or you feel uncomfortable with any of the people standing near by, do not use the ATM.
Keep all valuables out of sight.
Keep your house and car keys in your pocket, rather than in your bag.
If you are carrying a handbag, make sure it is securely fastened and carry it in front of you. Wallets should be carried in front pockets.
Mobile Device Security
Never leave your mobile device unattended.
Set up a password or enable the PIN security feature of your mobile device.
Property mark you mobile device.
Report lost or stolen mobile phones immediately to the service provider.