How to #safely do your #Christmas #shopping #online without getting #scammed by #hackers

You might think shopping online is the best way to avoid the misery of schlepping around the shops with gazillions of other grumpy prezzie-seekers.

 

But cyber-scammers are always looking for ways to swindle shoppers and steal their hard-earned cash.

If you want to protect yourself, there are a few simple ways to stop online shopping becoming the nightmare before Christmas.

We spoke to Carl Leonard, principal analyst at the cybersecurity firm Forcepoint, who offered shoppers his advice on how to stay safe this Chrimbo.

The first thing to do is look at the address in your web browser whenever you visit a shop because fraudsters often set up fake websites which are honeypots designed to steal your credit card details or other valuable personal information.

‘When looking for that perfect Christmas gift online, always check first for the padlock in the top right-hand corner of your browser to find out if the site is using HTTPS rather than HTTP, making it more secure,’ Carl said.

‘Check the website address in your browser. Sometimes attackers add a character to a business name to create a brand new fake website, changing characters in the domain name (such as swapping the letter ‘L’ for a ‘1’), or registering a new domain containing a shop name such as amazon.fake.com instead of the real address, which is amazon.com.

‘Be aware that the certificates which are used to secure transactions you’re making can be stolen – so if you are worried, close the browser.’

The security expert also advised people to be on the lookout for email scams.

‘Be aware of festive offers that seem too good to be true because they probably are,’ he continued.

‘You should also look out for emails letting you know you have a parcel arriving – this is a common lure tactic for ransomware. The email might be spoofed to appear as though it’s from a shop you have previously bought something from.

‘If you’re worried your bank details may have been compromised, contact the store and also check your bank balance, ideally without using a computer that’s already suspected of being infected.’