Holiday season shopping tips

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Jake Moore, ESET Security Specialist, provides some simple tips to make shopping online safer this holiday season.

As the busiest time on the internet approaches when we all scramble around for those last-minute Christmas presents, some deals may look quite enticing at first yet can have devastating consequences at a time when you don’t want to be (even more) out of pocket.

Scammers will always try their luck, but it’s this time of year where us shoppers may let our usual guard down as we look for a bargain.

It is paramount to be cautious of online deals especially when you haven’t heard of the website or Facebook page before.

By giving unknown sites your credit card details without checking first, you could simply be giving a hacker all of your personal information.

That hacker could take advantage of this and rinse your bank account or credit limit leaving you with more than you bargained for when the bill arrives.

Moreover, if you are requested to set up a password with a new account and you choose a password that you use elsewhere, it could mean a hacker could simply attempt these passwords on your email and other accounts to then take control of them.

Without further ado, here are some simple tips you can follow to shop safer and smarter:

·         If you haven’t shopped on a website before, do your homework and research reviews and comments from trusted review sites

·         Be very cautious of deals you see on Facebook, Instagram and so on – even if there are lots of “likes” on the post: there are plenty of scams which take advantage of easily accessible and cheap social media advertising

·         When on a website, look for the “https” before handing over your credit card details

·         Watch out for increased phishing email attacks over the busy shopping period

·         Watch for SMS phishing texts (smishing) especially if it looks like it’s from a delivery company asking to schedule in a redelivery of a parcel

·         Try to avoid public Wi-Fi when shopping online

·         If you need to create an account and password for a new website you haven’t visited before, make sure that password is unique, long and not used for any other account online

·         Get yourself a trusted password manager for Christmas and remember - if it’s too good to be true, it probably is

Do you do most of your Christmas shopping online? Let us know on Twitter @ESETUK.