Stay Safe this Black Friday and Cyber Monday by Ensuring you are Aware of the Risks of Online Shopping.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are traditionally days we can enjoy and get ourselves a few bargains. However, this is never without risk, especially now when we are forced to do the bulk of our shopping online where opportunistic cyber criminals lie in wait ready to take advantage of any weaknesses.
Fortunately, there are steps we can take to protect ourselves online. I have compiled a list of 'Do's' and 'Do Not's' when shopping online this Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
- DO research the company you are buying from to check that they are legitimate
- DO check the site you're shopping on is secure - look for a padlock in the website's address bar - this means the information you are sending to the website, like your credit card information, is secure
- DO use the latest version of your internet browser and sure your software and any apps are up to date. This includes antivirus software - to protect you against the latest threats
- DO monitor bank and credit card activity for any suspicious or unexpected purchases
- DO use strong passwords with a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, symbols etc
- DO NOT click on link in unsolicited emails
- DO NOT ignore your browser if it tells you a website is insecure
- DO NOT be tempted to buy goods with prices that are too low or too goof to be true
- DO NOT purchase goods from sites that do not have a return/refund policy
I know it can be so tempting to ignore these safety precautions on days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but it is important you take the steps needed to protect yourself online.
Many scammers will also try to prove to you their legitimacy by sending you emails that may look safe but are nothing of the sort. Here's 5 ways to spot a scam email -
1) Genuine companies do not ask for sensitive details via email - if you receive an email providing a link asking for sensitive information - it's a scam!
2) Beware of RE: URGENT subject lines - these aim to get you to react without thinking
3) Companies have domain emails - don't just check the person sending the email, check the email by hovering your mouse over the 'from' address. No legitimate organisation will contact you from an address ending in @gmail.com or @hotmail.co.uk for example
4) Forcing you to a website or to click an attachment - sometimes a scam email is made so clicking on any part of the message will open a fake webpage or download spam onto your computer - check before you click!
5) Make sure that any phone number in the email match those on the website of the company sending the email
Your email provider will automatically weed out any scam emails and place them in your spam folder, but for the few that do get through, make sure your are prepared.
What should you do if you spot an online scam or fraud?
If you get suspicious emails, forward them to firstname.lastname@example.org so the National Cyber Security Centre can test the website they link and remove it if it is a scam.
If you have been a victim of an online scam, report it to Action Fraud at actionfraud.police.uk or call 0300 123 2040