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Top tips for safe online shopping

It’s Black Friday this Friday and last year, shoppers in the UK spent £3.3bn with figures this year expected to reach £5bn.

Black Friday is also a busy time for cybercriminals with more attempted online attacks against businesses and individuals than on any other day.  If shopping online, be particularly aware of fake websites which are set up to  trap unsuspecting visitors who assume it is a legitimate site.

How to stay safe when online shopping for between now and Christmas

If you’re planning to avoid the crowds this Christmas and do your gift shopping online, here are a few simple tips to protect yourself:

  • Trust your instincts. If an offer looks too good to be true, then it probably is. Do not rush and be fooled into believing you are getting a good deal.
  • Check the website. Often the people behind these sites will try to deceive you by slightly changing the spelling of a well-known brand or shop in the website address.
  • Consider using a credit card. If you buy something that costs between £100 and £30,000, you may get your money back if it all goes wrong. You may also have protection and get a refund if your card is used fraudulently.
  • Look to see where the trader is based and whether they provide a postal address. Just because the web address has ‘uk’ do not assume the seller is based in the UK. If there is no address supplied or there is just a PO Box or email, be wary.
  • Only deal with reputable sellers. If you have not bought from the seller before, do your research and check online reviews. People will often turn to forums and blogs to warn others of fake sites.
  • Ensure the website address begins ‘https’ and has a picture of a padlock at the payment stage – this indicates a secure payment.
  • Keep security software and firewalls up-to-date
  • Watch out for pop-ups appearing asking you to confirm your card details before you are on the payment stage. Never enter your PIN online

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