With just over a month to go before Santa arrives with a sack full of gifts, those of us who don’t have a team of elves to hand are stuck doing the Christmas shopping.
And, as each year the number of us opting to buy our gifts online from the comfort of the sofa keeps on growing - online sales rose from £14.93bn in 2013 to £17.37bn last year - there’s never been a better time to ensure you shop safely.
So today, as part of the ongoing Cyber Security – Has It Clicked? campaign our team of cyber experts are offering help and advice about the risks and how best to avoid them.
Detective Inspector Rich Osgerby said: “Buying online can save you considerable time and effort, but you need to be aware of the risks and take care over what you are buying, from whom and how you pay for your purchases.
“As well as exposing yourself to bogus sellers - who take your money without any intention of sending you what they claim to be selling, or sell low-quality fakes – you also run the risk of online fraud.”
Sticking to these basic guidelines should help you to shop in safety:
- Buy from established, well known retailers were possible. If you want to buy from someone who you’re not familiar with, establish the firm’s physical address and contact details.
- Paying with a credit card offers more protection against fraud than other payment methods.
- Don’t respond to unsolicited emails from companies you don’t recognise.
- Before making payments, make the following 3 checks –
- Make sure there is a padlock symbol in the browser window frame when you log in or register. If it’s on the page itself, it’s probably a fraudulent site.
- The web address should start with ‘https://’ The S stands for secure.
- If you’re using the latest version of your browser, the address bar or name of the site owner will turn green.
- If you’re redirected to a third party payment site, make sure it is secure.
- Always log out of sites you are registered to. Simply closing the browser is not secure.
- Don’t pay for goods on public Wi-fi
- Don’t pay by bank transfer. Use a site like Paypal instead.
- Make sure your antivirus software is running and up to date.
If you think you have been a victim of fraud: Report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre or call them on 0300 123 20 40.
To find out more about protecting yourself from online crime, visit the Humberside Police website.
You can also follow @humberbeat #HasItClicked? on Twitter or visit the force Facebook page.