Bury Market took part in an ITV ‘sting’ operation to highlight the dangers to shoppers of internet security.
For the Tonight show, a former police officer set up a fake stall on the market to see how careless people can be with their private information on social media.
Dan The Man’s Wrapping Van offered free Christmas gift paper to shoppers who agreed to ‘like’ the Facebook page of the business.
After the customers liked the Facebook page, cyber security expert Stephen Burke was able to scour the internet for readily available information on them, which he quickly relayed back to Dan via a hidden earpiece.
All the information gleaned was freely and publicly available on their Facebook profiles.
Angela Lomax, head of trading standards at Bury Council, said: “Research shows that 68% of online shoppers leave out at least one simple safety check when buying goods on the internet, such as looking for signs that the website is using a secure, encrypted connection, looking at the returns policy or searching for reviews of the seller.
“With most Brits planning to shop online for presents this festive season, Trading Standards is advising people to take their time and do their research before pressing ‘purchase’.”
She added: “Just under one in three people (28%) said they bought items from social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, or websites promoted through these platforms.
“Purchasing products via social media sites is notoriously risky as they are awash with misleading advertising, counterfeit and unsafe products, subscription traps and many other scams.
“Trading standards advise people to observe a Buy Safe Checklist including searching for reviews of the product or seller, looking at grammar and spelling on the website, seeing if the seller has a landline number, finding out where their head office is based and ensuring that the website has a secure connection. Consumers are also advised to report concerns to Citizen’s Advice consumer service. The old saying of “If it looks to be good to be true, it usually is!” still applies.”