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Dec 19, 2017

Industry insights,

Have a cyber-safe Christmas

Have a cyber-safe Christmas

As we enter into the last week before Christmas, retailers have already started slashing their prices, in the hope of maintaining sales and get those tills ringing right through to New Year. And for anyone that’s trying to avoid the shops altogether, the online Christmas shopping experience has dramatically improved over the years, you can find almost everything you need from the comfort of your front room. Nevertheless, with the last remaining retail days closing in, it’s still as important as ever to remain vigilant and don’t be tempted to cut corners for that absolute bargain. Scammers are out there in force this time of year, taking advantage of the distressed and urgent need to make a purchase.

Here are our top 5 tips on how to stay cyber-safe this Christmas.

Watch out for fake websites

This time of year cyber-criminals are trying to find new ways to get your hard earned cash. A spoof website is an easy way to do this. They can make the website look exactly the same as the official retailer, and lure you in with amazing deals. Keep a look out for anything suspicious, such as misspelt words and check the URL looks authentic. To check if the website is secure, look for ‘https’ at the beginning, the ‘s’ stands for secure.

Pay by credit card

This is a brilliant tip. When you make a purchase online always remember to use your credit card. This provides an extra layer of protection, and so if the goods don’t turn up, or arrive faulty you can claim the money back via the credit card company.

Beware of phishing emails

Phishing is a tactic used by scammers to try and obtain our information using spoof emails. These emails will appear to be from a familiar or trusted source, such as our bank or from a retailer like ASDA or Argos. The emails will usually contain links that will download malicious software and try to steal your personal information. It’s also worth keeping in mind that malicious emails of this nature might also contain suspicious links in the unsubscribe link, so don’t be tempted to try and unsubscribe if you think it’s not a genuine email.

Avoid doing transactions on public Wi-Fi

As we’ve documented in the past with our blog ‘The importance of a VPN’, public Wi-Fi that offered in cafes and bars is not secure and hackers could infiltrate your transactions and steal your personal information. If you need to make a purchase online or access your bank whiles you’re out and about, don’t be tempted with the convenience of free Wi-Fi and change your settings on your device to use 3G or 4G as this is far more secure.

Act fast if you do fall victim to cyber-crime

If you are unfortunate enough to experience a scam, take action straight away. Call your bank or credit card company and see if the transaction can be stopped. In some cases you might prevent it from happening, if the money has already been taken, depending on the circumstances and if the purchase has been made using a credit card, the banks may be able to refund the money that was fraudulently taken. In all cases you should report the incident to Action Fraud. They are the UK’s national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre and will look to publicise incidents that pose a significant threat to the public.

It’s worth mentioning that the majority of cyber-crime that targets the consumer relies on one key vector; human interaction or involvement of some kind. If a link looks suspicious don’t click on it, if you receive some form of communication, be it and email or a message on social media that you weren’t expecting, remain vigilant and think before you make that payment – is this a secure method.

Wishing you all a cyber-safe festive season.