This Monday is set to be the busiest day of the year for online shopping as Brits spend their November pay cheques on Christmas presents for friends and family. But, if you’re planning a shopping spree to stuff your stockings, make sure you practice safe shopping!
Last year, the Metropolitan Police shut down 2,000 fraudulent websites in an operation to protect people from Cyber Monday scams, which can include counterfeit goods, the spread of computer viruses and simple theft.
At the same time, worldwide, $1,25bn was spent online in a single day, meaning that the stakes are high with millions of us handing over personal details and uploading and downloading content.
With personalised gifts becoming more and more popular, many of us will be uploading photos and downloading templates to fill in with our information, often using sites that we’ve never encountered before. But festive good cheer can quickly turn into misery if you find your credit card cloned, your fake gifts falling apart or a virus wiping all the information from your computer.
So, if you’re looking for bargain this Cyber Monday, help to protect yourself by following these simple tips:
- Make sure that you know whom you’re dealing with – use trusted sites or research any new sites and vendors thoroughly
- Don’t click the links in unsolicited emails offering great Christmas deals
- Be suspicious if something is significantly cheaper than on other sites – if a deal is too good to be true, it probably isn’t
- Check that the payment pages are secure – look for:
- A padlock symbol in the browser window frame
- A URL that starts https://
- A green address bar
- Paying by credit card can offer more protection than paying with a bank card if the site is fraudulent
- Make sure you have effective anti-virus software running and that it’s up to date
- Back up your computer before you go online to make sure your data is protected