With Christmas almost here, more of us will be venturing online to find shop for bargains, buy our turkeys, book last minute breaks, and to send seasonal greetings.
The internet has brought us more convenience but it’s also a favourite time of year for criminals. They are well aware you will be busy online and may have too many other things on your mind to think about safeguarding yourself, your family and your finances.
This year, make sure you don’t get conned out of Christmas, by thinking twice before you click and taking some simple precautions. The leaflet available for download below has some straight-forward tips to make sure this is a festive season to remember… for all the right reasons. Here are some top tips to stay safe online:
1. SHOP, SHOP, SHOP
If something seems too much of a bargain, it’s probably poor quality or doesn’t even exist. Always check payment pages are secure, and log out when you’ve finished shopping online.
2. AUCTION BARGAIN … OR NOT?
When making a purchase from an auction website, use insured payment methods like paypal and never do a bank transfer to people you don’t know.
Do all you can to check the seller or buyer are authentic. And look out for fake goods: they’re illegal and cost livelihoods.
3. JUST THE TICKET
Buying gig or event tickets as a gift, or for yourself? To avoid fraud, buy only from official sources, and never pay by direct transfer.
4. COME FLY AWAY…
Whether you’re planning a break at Christmas or next year, make sure the holiday or flight is genuine by researching it thoroughly, and check travel agents for an ABTA/ATOL number.
5. WHO’S ASKING?
Scam emails, calls, texts and posts are getting cleverer and you’re bound to get some over Christmas. Think twice before you get talked into anything, however busy you are.
6. YOUR PASSWORD IS YOURS. KEEP IT THAT WAY!
Passwords that are easy to guess, that you use for more than one account or that you share with others, are a no-no!
7. SECURELY CONNECTED?
Secure Wi-Fi is vital for your privacy. At home, check your router security settings. Out and about, never use free Wi-Fi hotspots when what you’re doing is private.
8. GREAT OFFER, OR SUBSCRIPTION TRAP?
Don’t sign up for ‘free’ or ‘low-cost’ trial goods without thoroughly reading the small print. You could be signing up for massive direct debits.
9. SEASON’S GREETINGS
Don’t open attachments or click on links in festive (or any other) emails you’re not expecting, as they could be scams. And be careful with ecards as they can be fraudulent too.
10. AVOID THOSE NASTY CHRISTMAS VIRUSES
And we don’t mean coughs and colds! Always have internet security (antivirus) software and apps switched on and updated (including those new phone and tablet gifts).
Remember, if you’ve been the victim of online fraud, you can report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre by calling 0300 123 20 40 or by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.
For all the expert advice you need on keeping safe online, visit www.getsafeonline.org.