Online Christmas Shopping: How To Click without getting conned

So many of us do our Christmas shopping online. It may not be as atmospheric as the High Street, but purchasing gifts from the comfort of our sofa is proving more and more attractive. So it’s essential that we are all aware of the online scams fraudsters use to trick us out of our money. A few simple precautions will help you click without getting conned…

ONLY BUY FROM WEBSITES THAT YOU KNOW If you see online offers that look too good to be true, they probably are. It’s worth thinking twice about luxury items that are being sold at bargain prices. They could easily be fakes, poor quality or, worse still, not even exist.

IGNORE UNSOLICITED EMAILS & TEXTS Don’t open attachments or click on links in emails you’re not expecting. Be careful with e-cards too as they can also be fraudulent. You might be directed to fake websites that look like the real thing. Best to type the website name directly into the address bar of your computer or iPad instead. Scammers are getting cleverer so if you are remotely unsure about an email, delete it.

USE A SECURE PAYMENT METHOD Never use a bank transfer to pay someone you don’t know as they make it much harder to get your money back if things go wrong. To make sure you stay safe, don’t transfer money to sellers, only pay by debit or credit card or use insured payment methods such as PayPal..

LOOK FOR A PADLOCK SYMBOL The padlock symbol in the address bar means that your connection is secure, but be aware – it does not necessarily mean the website is genuine. Always check payment pages also have the padlock symbol and log out when you’ve finished shopping online.

SECURE INTERNET CONNECTION Try to avoid online shopping on public Wi-Fi hotspots, as con artists are sometimes able to hack the network and steal any personal information you share. Secure wi-fi is vital for your privacy so always have internet security (antivirus) software switched on and updated.

VARY YOUR PASSWORDS Everything we do seems to need a password these days, which is why so many of us use the same one over and over again. Mistake! If a fraudster gets hold of a password, they know it’s a pretty good bet that it will have been used for several websites.

SUBSCRIPTION TRAPS Don’t sign up for ‘free’ or ‘low cost’ trial goods without reading the small print thoroughly. You need to be sure you are not signing up for massive direct debits.

READ THE REVIEWS It also makes sense to read what previous customers have commented about products before purchasing goods online.

Online Christmas Shopping: How To Click without getting conned

Northern Male has been a uniformed Staff Public Enquiries Officer on the front desk of several very busy police stations since 2005 and so it’s also worth reading his post entitled Take Five To Stop Fraud