It’s that time of year when everyone goes a little mad and heads off to the internet for Christmas shopping and bargain hunting. This year will likely be a bumper one for online vendors, as lockdown has increased our online shopping propensity and indeed for many, it has been the only way to shop for months.
Far be it from us to tell you not to. Fill your boots with bargains, but do it safely and securely so you can enjoy your festive season without any nasty surprises…
Assure yourself you are visiting the genuine website you intended to go to by checking for the closed padlock symbol in the URL bar.
If you received an offer by email from a website you do not subscribe to be careful about clicking links, even if they offer you a total bargain. You have no idea where you may be taken or what may be downloaded onto your computer.
Check your company Fair Use policy before you start doing Christmas Shopping on your employer’s device. Getting a malware infection is bad enough, but infecting your colleagues or network with it is quite another.
If you are planning to re-use a site you are on and are happy to save your payment details, that’s fine, but if this is a one off, as it frequently is at this time of year, think carefully about ticking that box just for convenience sake.
If you receive an email from a site you use regularly, asking you to click a link for a bargain, make sure you are certain that it is genuine before clicking anything. If you are really unsure, it may be best to visit the site by your normal method.
Once you have made your orders, be very wary of parcel or delivery scams that also operate in vast numbers this time of year. They come in a variety of guises but always take note of any shipping details your vendor gave you as well as details of how your items will arrive. Most carriers offer apps to help you track genuine items which makes it harder to fake. However, there are still fake ‘sorry I missed you’ cards used in some delivery scams. Again, know what you are expecting and when, this will help minimise the risk from these.
Keep an eye on your bank and credit card accounts over the next few weeks. Its worth noting that criminals particularly like this period. People are transacting more, they might not always notice every single transaction and there are some holiday days that may allow for nefarious use of stolen payment details. The faster you notice anything wrong, the faster it can be fixed.