How to Stay Safe Online When Buying Gifts This Christmas

Cyber security tips for purchasing Christmas presents online.

Most people are probably still looking for the perfect Christmas deals. However, with the Covid virus still, very much around, even more of us (I'm one of them) know that it is probably safer to purchase presents online. With that said, it is important to click carefully when shopping online.

Avoid fake promotions

Cybercriminals will try to exploit the holiday season this year and take advantage of unwary shoppers. It is common for scammers to promote their products or service using fake promotions on social media. Scammers then take payments and never deliver the good or service in question.

Is your bank really calling you?

The number of phone scams has also increased where fraudsters attack customers by calling them on behalf of a bank. They claim to have identified suspicious transactions that have been blocked from the consumer's accounts.

The method is quite simple. You receive a call from someone claiming to be the bank, and they say they have seen a 3rd party transaction made on your card within the last few hours. It's easy to slip up and provide your personal information without thinking something is wrong. Be extra careful and always verify the caller; it's better to hang up and call back on the official support line instead.

Online shopping is safer than the mall, but…

If you order online, you are safer than shopping in a crowded mall. However, shopping online also carries risks such as identity theft and other cybercrimes.
If we aren't careful, someone could steal our data and use it to commit identity fraud or sell information that may have been considered valuable on the dark web.

Here are a couple of tips to minimize this year's holiday online shopping risks:

First, always use a secure connection.

When shopping online or on your phone, the most important thing is a reliable internet connection. Unfortunately, while it may be tempting to shop for gifts on the go or in a cafe, publicly available WiFi hotspots don't provide you with a sufficient level of security when you're making payments. So for any sensitive data we transmit, we make sure to use your phone's data plan or home WiFi connection or make sure that you use a VPN to keep your data safe.

Protect your information

Protect your payment data and identities with an up to date security software! One of the most important aspects of a good anti-virus software includes phishing and anti-fraud protection. Another essential tool for security is to make sure that you have multi-factor authentication for online transactions.

If it's too good to be true…

As the holiday season draws near, you can find tempting bargains and deal sites that entice your senses with attractive prices. Unfortunately, this is the most active time of year for fraudsters, as they take advantage of shoppers' impulsive nature to try and grab as many sales as possible. As a result, you are likely dealing with a fraudulent website if you encounter an advertisement offering a substantial discount on luxury products or popular electronics.

Users should be aware that clicking on these may result in them being taken to a phishing website and collecting sensitive data. So ensure to check the web address, observe spelling mistakes, and don't fall into flashy offers without doing your due diligence.

To avoid fraud, buy from reputable websites and remember that if it's too good to be true, always question it.

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