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With just 1 week to go until Christmas, many of us will still be shopping on line, so here are a few tips to help keep you safe whilst you shop:

Choose Where You Shop!

Look for a padlock symbol in the address bar of the website you are browsing. This padlock symbol means that the connection is encrypted meaning that your personal information will reach the site without anyone else being able to read it. The padlock is not however a guarantee that the online shop is legitimate. Your browser may also mark an address as “insecure” never ignore this message!!

Try shopping on sites that you have used before and trust, but if you decide you want to go ahead and make a purchase from an unknown site, you could always do some research, for example checking to see if others have used the site and what their experience was, look for on line reviews.

If you decide to go ahead, use a credit card if possible, as most credit card providers offer insurance for online purchases.

Don’t Give Away Too Much Information!

Remember that the only real information you need to give is your name, address and payment details. If a site starts asking for non-mandatory information be cautious! The name of your first pet, your first car and your mothers maiden name are not required when making an online purchase.

You only have to complete the mandatory fields marked with an asterisk*. If you can avoid it don’t create an account on a new site, you can usually check out as a guest.

Keep Your Devices Up To Date!

Ensure that you install the latest app and software updates. These usually contain important security updates that help protect you from identity fraud. You can find more information about how to install these updates from Apple, Microsoft and Google.

Use A Strong Password!

Make your important accounts safer with a strong password! Especially your email, and one that you don’t use anywhere else. This way if a cyber criminal does manage to access your email, they won’t be able to log into your online bank account!

Use A Password Manager!

If like us, you have lots of accounts the temptation is to re-use passwords and usernames is pretty strong…. how are you supposed to remember them all? A good way to get around this is to use a password manager.

These systems remember all the login details for each of your online accounts, the only password you will need to remember is for the password manager! Brilliant!

Be Wary of Links in Emails and Texts!

Some of the emails or texts you will receive from companies about brilliant offers or amazing deals may contain links to fake websites, designed to steal your personal details and your hard-earnt money.

Remember not all links are bad, but if you are unsure don’t risk it! Simply go to the website directly through your internet browser not by clicking the link.

If It All Goes Wrong!

Its OK, we all make mistakes, and these days scams are very convincing, but if you think you may have been taken in by a fake website you need to take note of the website address, then close down your internet browser, then contact your bank and report the details to Action Fraud -

It’s a good idea to keep a close eye on your bank transactions and contact your bank straight away about anything that you recognise, even small amounts.

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