Cyber safety over the holidays

Staying Cyber Safe Over The Holidays

Cyber Safety Is Often The Last Thing On Your Mind Over The Holidays

With holiday season just a few short weeks away, it’s likely that you will be spending more time online searching for the perfect gifts to buy your loved ones. The vast majority of online vendors for these gifts will be reputable household names. But what about specialty online stores you’ve never encountered before? How can you ensure you are protected from any online credit card fraud when buying products online?


In this article, we take a look at some easy steps you can take to protect yourself when shopping online. Keep reading until the end for our little money-saving bonus tip!


Only Use Secure Websites  


Make sure when you are navigating any e-commerce store that there is a secure connection. For Chrome, Safari and Firefox browsers this is denoted by a padlock symbol on the top left-hand side of the web address bar.


This means that when you come to enter your credit card details instead of displaying the number for potential interceptors to steal, the data in encrypted so nobody can access your payment information.


The highest level of security will be denoted by the name of the company and a large padlock denoted in green writing, again situated to the left of the domain in the web address bar. Never enter your payment information on an unsecure connection, as there is the potential that a hacker can intercept your credit card details. After July 2018 Google Chrome tells you if a website is unsecure in the same place the padlock appears.


Never Re-Use Passwords


Many websites will require you to make an account with them before being able to make your purchase. You will be required to enter details such as your name, address, telephone number and card details.


You will then be prompted to enter a password. It is vital that you make sure that this password contains many different types of letters, numbers and symbols and that it is at least 12 characters long.


Many people make the mistake of using the same password over and over again. This is no longer safe practice when shopping online. If hackers steal your details, they will attempt that password at all major online retailers and go shopping using the card associated with those accounts. The best method is to create unique passwords and to store them securely using a password manager or secure keychain.

Use PayPal Whenever Possible


You can avoid entering your card details altogether by using PayPal at the online checkout stage. By leaving their site and heading to PayPal, you are paying using one of the most secure websites on the planet, rather than an online retailer that you potentially don’t trust.


One item to be wary of though is scams where sketchy websites send you to lookalike PayPal sites and get you to enter your details. Make sure you are visiting the real PayPal by checking the padlock and PayPal in green writing in the web address bar as mentioned above.


Bonus Tip: Save Money by Checking the Price on Another Browser


Strictly speaking, this is not security-related but it can prevent you from paying more than you need to. If you visit a website, it will often plant cookies on your browser so it knows you’ve visited their website before.


Those websites will then jack up the price next time you visit to urge into buying it before it goes up again. Whereas new customers who’ve never visited the site before will be shown the original low price to tempt them into buying.


So, when you are researching an item, do all of your inquiries on one browser and then once you’ve decided what you want to buy and which site to buy it on, proceed to do so on a different browser, or on private mode where cookies haven’t been installed.


There you have it, several security tips that, if followed, will prevent any possible credit card fraud from occurring when shopping online. Now you can enjoy the holiday season and shop without the fear of being hacked or scammed online.


For more tips and trips on staying cyber safe, check out some of our other blog posts!

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