How to shop safely online during the holiday season

With the silly season well and truly upon us we’re hitting our keyboards with shopping abandon but, what are the risks?
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The Holiday season is the busiest and riskiest time to shop online. Thousands of people take to the internet to fill their virtual stockings and meanwhile, thousands of cyber crooks rub their hands with glee.

Not all online shopping portals are created equal and with the added pressure of the Christmas shopping, coupled with the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales across the world, online shopping can be dangerous if correct precautions are not taken.

Whilst systems are often beefed up by online retailers to cope with the extra load, hackers get smarter every year and are primed and ready to take advantage of the overloaded internet selling period – targeting this time trying to steal users’ financial details. Users are tricked into believing they are on a secure online store while in reality, the credit card details are being syphoned off to a hacker.

According to Nord VPN, there are some simple steps for avoiding online fraud:

1. https

Check the URL  at the top of the web page you are purchasing online from. It should have the ‘s’ at the end of it’s ‘http’ address to signify a secure protocol.

 2. Public internet connection

Don’t shop online using public wifi networks. These are notorious places for hackers to prowl and trap user information. 

3. Buyer beware

If a site asks for more information than necessary, such as driver’s license or pension security number, this can spell fraud. Always beware of entering too much information into a point of sale on the internet.

4. Use a VPN

A VPN creates a secure connection from one network to another network over the Internet. There are providers that do this for a fee, usually connected to your existing data setup. “VPNs are the best security mechanism you can employ to make sure the data you share over the internet is safe, by encrypting all the data you share on any website,” says NordVPN.

5. Stronger passwords

If you’re lazy with your passwords and tend to use the same one for everything, this puts you at a real risk of fraud. Find and learn ways to create stronger passwords.


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