Cyber Wise tips for shopping safe online this festive season
It’s that hectic time of year again! With the eager festive lovers already throwing up their decorations and the Coca-Cola truck back on our screens, it’s officially Christmas! The majority of you most likely started your Christmas shopping months ago, the clever few will have already finished. However if you’re like me and you leave everything to last minute, you will likely find yourself clicking away doing your shopping online.
Online shopping is great for me (bad for my balance)! I’m a bit of a scrooge, I can’t be dealing with the loud, crowded shopping centres this time of year. You’re trying to walk at a respectable pace, dodging prams and trolleys while clinging on to bags filled with gifts for family and friends. I would much rather be sat at home comfy and warm with a cheese and ham toastie, scrolling away on Amazon with Netflix on the telly…stress free!
As we should all be aware by now, shopping online can’t always be as stress free as it should be! You may find your inbox has been bombarded with sales and offers, or that one very specific gift you want to buy isn’t being sold by any of your trusted retailers. The pressure of Christmas can sometimes get to us and we begin to make mistakes, and we should all know what can happen when we make a mistake online!
It is predicted that over 80% of the UK will shop online this December, which is a great opportunity for cyber criminals and fraudsters to take advantage. It’s vital that we take steps to preventing anything bad from happening to us this Christmas!
Computer and Account Security
Let’s start with the basics…
- Antivirus – Anyone who intends on using their computer online should ensure their computers are fully up to date with anti-virus protection.
- Strong passwords – Most websites require a 6 character credential, however we always recommend a 12 character password that uses upper and lowercase, numbers and symbols.
- 2FA – Two factor authentication on your accounts makes it a lot harder for a criminal to access your accounts. 2FA is available on most websites and is quick and easy to set up, it requires you to enter a code sent to your phone every time you log in to the account on a new device.
Your mailboxes are likely to get bombarded by retailers advertising sales and offers this month, here’s a few things you should be doing;
- SPAM filter – Purchasing a SPAM filter can greatly improve your mailbox security, helping lower the risk of you being tricked by a fake, malicious email.
- Unsubscribe from unwanted newsletters – Unsubscribing from any unwanted newsletters can greatly improve your mailboxes clutter. When a retailer sends you a newsletter they should give you the option to ‘Unsubscribe’ from future emails.
- Looking out for Phishing emails – Phishing attacks always rise this time of year, double check every email to prevent being phished.
It’s imperative you follow these steps to stay safe when browsing the internet and shopping online;
- Stick to safe websites – Safe websites are certified with the green padlock and Https:// before the websites address. This means that all data sent between your PC and the website is encrypted.
- Only purchase from trusted retailers – Stick to retailers you know and trust. When shopping on sites such as Amazon and Ebay where you can purchase from 3rd party sellers, check out their ratings and reviews first. Be cautious of 3rd party sellers who have 5 stars but only a few reviews!
- Use a credit card and not your debit card – If your debit card details are stolen and purchases are made, you may struggle to get your money refunded by your bank. Using a credit card online can make it easier for you to get your money back if your details are stolen and purchases are made.