The holidays are a busy time of the year – with food orders, online shopping, thinking of the next holiday or wanting to give back to charitable organisations. It is also the busiest time for cyber-criminals.
We have put together a list to help you stay cyber-safe and enjoy this period.
1. Keep your machine clean!
Be sure that all internet-connected devices are free from malware and infections by running only the most current versions of software, web browsers and other apps.
2. Pay by credit card
Credit cards provide protection if things go wrong with a purchase. If the goods don’t show up or are faulty, and cost more than £100, Section 75 of the Consumer Rights Act means you can claim the money back. For goods under £100, or payments made by debit card, you can ask your bank to recover the money through “chargeback”. Always be suspicious if a website asks you to make a bank transfer instead of paying by card.
3. Beware of fake websites
If something seems too good to be true, it’s probably poor quality or doesn’t even exist. Check payment pages are secure (should have ‘https’ at the start of the website URL and look for a padlock on the left of the browser) and log out when you’ve finished shopping online.
4. Avoid shopping on public Wi-Fi
Internet hotspots offered by coffee shops, libraries and bars may be incredibly convenient but are extremely vulnerable. If you’re shopping or banking online use your own 3G/4G network or wait until you get home.
5. Think before you click
Pay attention to emails you receive. Don’t open emails from unknown senders or click on links in suspicious messages.
6. Monitor your accounts
Check your online financial accounts regularly for suspicious spending. Also, take advantage of text and email alerting services that many banks and credit card companies now offer.
7. Social media offers
WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram often link to amazing discounts or freebies which are often too good to be true. Don’t click on these links!
8. Fake reviews
Many of us use online review website such as TripAdvisor, Expedia and Amazon to find the best bargains. But among the genuine reviews are millions of fake. Be suspicious of similar worded reviews.
9. Event tickets
Buying a massage voucher, event tickets or gig tickets as a gift or for yourself? To avoid fraudulent websites buy only from official sources and never pay by direct transfer.
10. If you think you’ve been a victim – act fast!
If believe you have been conned, call your bank immediately and ask them to try and stop the payment. The sooner you do this the higher the chance you have of getting your money back. Call your bank yourself, not a phone number you have possibly received through a scam letter or email.