How to do your Christmas shopping online safely

Christmas shopping safely online

Be savvy when shopping online

Great for hunting down hard to find gifts and for ordering last minute presents, online shopping is increasingly popular.

More financial transactions take place during this month than any other time of year, rising by an astonishing 85% in 2011 compared to the previous year. But just because you’re curled up in the warmth, sipping sherry and feeling full of festive goodwill doesn’t mean you can let your guard down when it comes to cybercrime, so here are our top tips to keep you safe when you’re shopping online.

  1. Be wary of unsecured or unknown websites. Always use reputable outlets and make sure any transactions you make take place across secure pages. You can tell a secure site by the first part of its web address. If it starts with https:// rather than http:// it’s a secure site, they often display a padlock sign in your browser address bar. You can also look for secure site seal like the Norton secured, Verisign or Geotrust logos to be sure that the site is legitimate.
  2. Watch out for spam emails. Been offered this year’s top toy 80% cheaper than the high street? Or the chance to win all your presents and have them delivered? Seem too good to be true? Well, they probably are. Cybercriminals are clued up on the searches we make online at Christmas and know what sort of emails we’d love to get. So delete emails you get from unknown recipients or those that seem just that bit too generous.
  3. Be careful on social networking sites. Criminal gangs have been known to monitor people’s social profiles to find out when they’re going away (to stay with family over Christmas, for example) so they know the house will be empty. Be mindful of this before telling the world what you’ll be doing this festive season.
  4. Keep personal information secured. Make sure you never give out personal information on the internet – always be cautious when befriending someone online, particularly via social networking sites where personal information may be easily exposed. The warning that people aren’t always who they say they are applies to adults as much as children.
  5. Keep your mobile phone protected. Make sure that it’s pin-protected and download a security app that allows you to wipe any personal data should it be stolen.

Orla Cox of internet protection experts Norton by Symantec says, “Cybercrime costs the UK economy £1.8 billion a year – a shocking £124 per person. While it’s great that consumers are benefiting from online shopping, it’s important they protect themselves.”

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