Christmas is when risk of online fraudulent activity is at its highest, as the increase of online transactions provides more opportunities for cybercriminals to attack.
I never really want to discuss Christmas at least until Halloween is over! But with it coming up in just over 2 months I can guarantee people out there have already started their shopping. As more and more people are using online sources to get hold of presents, it is important that everyone is aware of the risks that come with this modern and seemingly practical way of shopping, as well as how to prevent and deal with them.
Here are some preventative measures online shoppers can take to stay safe this Christmas:
- Fake websites – Be cautious of these, there are a lot of them around posing as legitimate websites selling trusted brands. Look specifically at domain names, grammar, misspellings and low-resolution images, if something doesn’t look quite right then it probably isn’t.
- Phishing emails – If you receive a dodgy looking email asking for personal information or promising great discounts, don’t open them without doing a basic authenticity check.
- Public Wifi – Avoid inputting financial or personal information when on public wifi, cybercriminals often use this as a way to hack information from users. Wait until you are at home or on a more trusted network.
- Passwords – These are usually the only security measures used to prevent someone getting into your account so it is essential that you have high strength passwords that use both numbers and symbols, and that you don’t use the same password across more than one site or account.
- Two factor authentication – More and more services are offering this, make it a requirement when signing up to new sites and services.
If you believe that your information is already at a risk, consider changing your passwords straight away and if you find yourself a victim of fraudulent activity then contact your bank before things are taken any further, speak to the police and report any theft. Cybercriminals will use this time of year to their absolute advantage so be prepared by following the above measures before any attacks ruin your Christmas!