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Tips for shopping safely online this Christmas!

November 16th, 2016

In the modern world, it has become ever more common for people to do the bulk of their Christmas shopping online. While this may be very convenient it may also expose you to the dangers of online shopping, such as identity theft or fraud.

There are a few steps outlined below that you can take to ensure you are minimising this risk for yourself:

  1. Use secure websites (HTTPS)

    Websites that have configured secure communications will have a URL that begins with “https” (or HTTP Secure) rather than “http”. If a website asks you for personal information such as your credit card number or login information, but is not configured to use HTTP Secure, the information you enter may be compromised and stolen by a third party.

  2. Use trustworthy Purchase Methods

    There are many trustworthy purchase methods such as PayPal and WorldPay, which will improve your chances of securely making your purchases, or getting your money back in the event a problem occurs.

  3. Use trustworthy websites, and check merchant ratings

    Ideally, purchases should be made through a website that has many positive reviews, and is reputable. However, reputable websites can also potentially have untrustworthy merchants, who are selling their products through the website. It is important to check both the review of the website, and available reviews of the seller, to minimise the potential risk.

  4. Use an adblocker

    Adblockers can prevent websites from injecting malicious code onto your website through ads. This can occur with reputable websites, if they have not screened their advertisers properly that are allowed to put ads on their website, which recently happened to the well-known website Forbes.

  5. Use an antivirus program

    This software should be kept up-to-date, with a regularly scheduled scan configured to run to ensure that any potentially malicious software is quarantined or removed as quickly as possible.

  6. Do not use 3rd party apps on mobile

    Any app that is installed on your phone could potentially have access to personal information you enter into the device, such as your credit card information. To minimise the risk of this, do not install apps that are not from the Google Play store or the Apple App store if you use this device for shopping online.

  7. And, of course, use Spybot

    Spybot can detect and remove many types of malicious programs, and help to keep your devices safe. While none of these options will 100% guarantee that your online shopping experience will go off without a hitch, the more of these rules you follow, the safer your experience is likely to be.