Online fraud at Christmas

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How to protect yourself from fraud when shopping online

Christmas is one of the most exciting times of year. The shops are filled with glittering decorations and each ad break is filled with festive cheer.

Despite the freshly festooned high streets being a sight to behold, the thought of battling through the single-minded Christmas shoppers can be too much for some people, which is why online shopping is so popular.

The internet offers convenience, choice and opportunity to shop around for the best prices easily. Millions of people now go online to spread the season's greetings, whether that's by sending an electronic Christmas card, buying the latest games console or purchasing concert tickets.

Unfortunately, Christmas is also pretty popular with criminals.

According to Action Fraud between November 2014 and February 2015 victims reported a total loss of over £16 million because of online fraudsters.

Seven top tips to protect you when online shopping

The City of London Police and Action Fraud have launched the Get Safe Online campaign to warn people of the dangers of online crime and shared their tips for staying safe.

Use a strong password

A strong password is the first line of defence to protect against unauthorised access. Microsoft says a strong password:

  • Consists of at least eight characters
  • Doesn't use your name
  • Doesn't contain a complete word
  • Isn't used for anything else
  • Contains different characters including upper case, lower case, numbers and symbols

Install security software

This will protect you computer against unauthorized access and enhance information security on that device.

Too good to be true

If something seems too much of a bargain, it should ring alarm bells. It may be a poor quality product or service - it may not even exist! Check payment pages are secure and always log out when you are finished.

Going, going, gone

When purchasing from an auction website, make sure you use a secure payment method such as PayPal.

Buying tickets

A great gift idea but fraught with the most risks. If you do choose to splash out on tickets for your loved one this year, make sure you only buy from official sources.

Booking a holiday

Planning a last minute Christmas break or pre-booking a holiday? Always research the airline first. You can check travel agents for an ABTA/ATOL number to ensure it is an accredited body.

Scam emails

Don't open attachments or click links on emails you aren't familiar with.

Cyber street wise provides more information on how to be safe online.

Home insurance and theft

If you're looking to protect your belongings from incidents such as theft, you can read more about the flexible cover Admiral Contents Insurance can offer you.

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