According to the National Retail Federation, 73% of consumers plan to use their smartphone or tablet to research or make a purchase this Christmas. David Allen IT Solutions provide the following tips and practices whilst shopping online to ensure peace of mind during the festive season.
Tips for Cyber Safe Christmas Shopping
- Make sure all internet connected devices – smartphones, tablets, PCs etc. are running the latest versions of software and apps and are free from malware or any infections.
- Use secure Wi-Fi. Whilst using free public Wi-Fi in your favourite café is convenient, it is not cyber secure. Do not make purchases using public Wi-Fi, instead use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or your mobile as a hotspot.
- Create strong passwords for all your accounts, using long and unique passphrases. Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) whenever possible. This will enable the strongest authentication tools available, such as a unique one time pin code sent to your mobile phone.
- If you receive an enticing offer, think before you click, is it too good to be true? Go to the company’s website direct to verify the offer is legitimate. Use trusted and familiar sites. Fake e-commerce sites are on the rise especially at this time of year. Before making a purchase, read reviews, check for a physical shop location and any other customer service information.
- Look for the lock. Never buy anything from a site that doesn’t have Secure Socket layer (SSL) encryption installed. You will know because the URL will start with HTTPS, not just HTTP and an icon of a locked padlock will appear to the left of the URL, although this can depend on your browser.
- Don’t overshare your personal information. If a merchant is requesting more data than necessary, cancel the transaction. No retailer needs to know your NI number or date or birth to do business. The more information scammers know the easier it is to steal your identity.
- Consider paying with a credit card rather than a debit card or use Paypal, these offer more consumer protection for card purchases. Check your bank statements frequently for any fraudulent activity, don’t wait until the end of the month for the statement.
- Pay with your phone in store. Paying for items using your smartphone has become pretty standard in stores and is more secure than using your card. Using a mobile payment app like Apple Pay of Google Pay means you have confirmed and authenticated your identity using your device, making it near impossible for someone to impersonate you to steal your data or your money.