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Are you being safe when shopping online?

Christmas shopping

We have some top tips to stop you running in to any online shopping traps during the busy shopping period. The first piece of advice is to relax, don’t think that everything you do online is a trap, or someone trying to get something out of you.

 

 

Breathe

This is probably the most important part of online shopping. Take a moment to breathe and assess the situation. Even if you are in work and under pressure to complete a transaction, it’s better to take that moment to check what you are doing than all the moments that will be needed to correct the effects of cybercrime.

Are you covered?

If you are not using protection on all of your devices then install it now. Obviously it would benefit you to pay for cyber security but if you are looking for some free options check out AVGAviraAvastLookout and Bit Defender. Those with up-to-date Microsoft Windows should automatically have Microsoft Defender.  If you are looking to pay for a more secure service then take a look at McAfeeNortonSophosF-Secure and Malwarebytes.  We also recommend you check out the offerings of your phone/network provider.

What should you looking for when purchasing online?

Does the web address look legit? If you use the website a lot then save it to your browser so you know you are always on the actual website you want. If you are not sure if you are being offered the right link from a search engine, copy and paste the web address offered into this handy tool from Cyberskills.ie.

Does the business have an app?

Using apps to purchase can have an added level of security as your phone is constantly checking apps for any potential threats. Make sure you get the official verified apps – reputable companies will have a link to the Google Play or Apple store on their official website.

When making a purchase did you get redirected?

If the page is redirected does it look legit? Does it have the green padlock to indicated a secure purchase? If you are worried about the page then click on the padlock and check who the certificate has been issued to. Is it who you are making the purchase from? If you want to get more technical this advice will help you to define whether the certificate is authentic or not.

If it seems too good to be true it probably is.

Wouldn’t you prefer to spend an extra few euros for an item on a trusted website than risk fraud or a ransomware attack? If you are sceptical about a company’s web address then you can always ring the shop/company and ask then to call out their web address to you. Check the price with them too.

Should you save your card details for next time?

This is personal preference – but if you lose your phone or laptop and it is not password protected then chances of someone being able to use your card are pretty high. Do you want to take that risk? Use a password on all devices.

Once off payment cards

For businesses who have many people making purchases on the company credit card then once off payment cards are a good option for online purchases. If something untoward does happen then it is only the amount on the card that they have access to. Klarna provide this service, for example.

Remember…

Whatever you do online, be safe. The internet is there to be enjoyed and explored so go forth, use protection and shop safely!

This article was written for Cycubix by Fiona Alston, based on an interview with Clodagh Durkan from Cycubix.

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