The Christmas holiday period is the biggest retail shopping event of the year. As a result, fraudsters try to sneakily scam us all of our hard earned cash over this period. Here’s 5 ways you can protect yourself from online fraud this Christmas.
Only shop online using secure HTTP (HTTPS)
Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is the standard underlying protocol used to transfer messages (text) across the world wide web. Information transferred across HTTP is transferred in plain text and can be easily read by hackers. Alternatively, Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is a secure protocol for transferring information across the web as the information transferred is encrypted and therefore extremely difficult to hack.
For online shopping, banking, or any other activity requiring sensitive personal information, you should only ever use HTTPS. Fortunately, it’s easy to determine what protocol you’re using. All you have to do is check the URL (web address) in the browser address bar and see if it starts with HTTPS or HTTP. If it starts with HTTP, do not enter any sensitive, personal information such as your credit card details.
Don’t be tricked by a fake website
Fake websites are becoming more and more common and sophisticated. In fact, sometimes fake websites can be exact replicas of genuine websites and are therefore very difficult to spot.
To ensure you’re using a genuine site, make sure you type the web address into the web address bar yourself. Alternatively, if you click on an email link, check the web address bar to make sure the URL matches the genuine URL exactly.
Don’t use public wifi
As tempting as it can be to use free public wifi when you’re out and about, public wifi often lacks encryption and can be accessed easily by hackers.
Consequently, you should never use public wifi to send any sensitive or personal information across the web. If you’re low on mobile data, wait until you’re somewhere with secure internet access to do your shopping or send personal emails.
Delete personal information from emails
If you’re like most people, you use your email account to send personal information such as your name, address, date of birth, copies of your passport, etc for travel and other purposes. As a result, your account is full of enough information to enable your identity to be stolen.
Fortunately, the solution to this problem is an easy one… Regularly delete sensitive emails from your inbox and sent box. That way, you’ll have nothing useful if your email account is hacked.
Use difficult to hack passwords
Following on from the above, a simple way to protect yourself is to use difficult to hack passwords.
Passwords should contain a mixture of words, numbers and other characters. Additionally, passwords should not contain information that is easily guessable such as your kids, partner’s or pets names, or birthdays… Especially if you have social media accounts such as Facebook or Instagram.
Instead, pick meaningful words and numbers that you’ll remember, but which are hard for a hacker to figure out.
Christmas is a popular time of the year for fraudsters to try and take advantage of online present shopping.
However, by keeping a few easy tips in mind, you can help keep your hard earned cash in your own wallet, and not someone elses, this Christmas.