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Tips for a cyber safe Black Friday and Cyber Monday

With only a short time until Black Friday and Cyber Monday, savvy shoppers will be looking to grab a bargain before the final countdown to Christmas. However, with its time-sensitive deals, Black Friday is an ideal playground for criminals to take advantage and separate shoppers from their hard-earned money. 

So what can you do to keep safe? We've listed some of our top tips for keeping safe over this period.      

Shop with reputable retailers.

One of the easiest ways to keep safe when shopping online, is to stick to the names you know and trust. These companies have reputations for a reason: they're known and trusted by millions to deliver the goods they promise.   

Think, have you shopped with them before? Do you know someone who has? Did they deliver what they promised? And how good are they at responding when something does go wrong? 

Go directly to retailer sites. Once you've decided where to shop, bookmark those ' sites to go there directly. One of the most earliest scams of the internet has been 'typsquatting', where individuals register a domain similar to a popular webpage but with a spelling mistake in it.

Shopping only with reliable retailers also may help in other ways, such as shipping delays, knockoffs, or poor-quality products.

Don't shop on public Wi-Fi.

Shopping on unsecured public Wi-Fi such as those at coffee shops and hotels leads yourself open to man-the-middle attacks, which can allow a scammer to acquire your personal details 

If you must shop on public Wi-Fi, use a trusted virtual private network (VPN), which creates a allows you to transfer your encrypted data more securely. 

Look for the lock

Some small-business owners may not have the budgets for more user-friendly websites, but how do you establish your payment details are secure ?

The URL of a secure website should begin with HTTPS rather than HTTP. To view HTTPS expand the URL by clicking on it. When you are on the website, look for a little lock icon in the top-left corner of your browser window.

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates and TLS (transport layer security) technologies are used on secure websites. Valid SSL and TLS certificates means no one is able to view or alter the data communicated between you and the website.

Safeguard store accounts with strong passwords.

Weak passwords are one of the easiest ways to fall victim to a cybercriminal. The NCSC recommends users create a password of 3 random words with a mix of capitals, lowercase, and symbols as the most secure but practical solution to keeping your account safe.

It's also critical that your primary email account uses a different password than any other websites you visit. If a malicious actor can compromise your primary email they will then hold the keys to all other accounts associated with that email

If you struggle to keep track of your passwords, consider using a secure and trusted password manage.

Protecting your payment information.

Choose credit cards over debit cards. Debit cards, provide easy access to your bank account's funds and scammers can manipulate payment gateways to take more of your money than you expected. If you chose to use a credit card, scammers are taking the bank’s money and you're afforded more protection. It is important to check your credit card provider to see what protection they offer.

Retailers often ask if you want to store your card information on their site for faster checkout in the future. If that retailer is then hacked, some of your card details may be stolen by the criminals.

Pay using a payment processor. Consider using a payment service like PayPal to complete your purchase if you want the simplicity and quickness of using already entered payment information. If you choose this option, the shop will never learn your card details. 

If it's too good to be true.. it probably is

When browsing the internet you may get adverts offering amazing deals offering huge discounts on prices you've seen. Ask yourself, how can the business afford these vast discounts alongside spending money for advertising.

The reality is that these huge discounts are almost always too good to be true.

Check your statements

Spend a few minutes online monitoring your credit and bank accounts. Check every day or every few days. Examine the transactions in detail, verify the amounts, and keep an eye out for fraud.

Report suspected fraud immediately. Call your bank or the company that issued your card provider if you notice any suspicious transaction. The best chance to get your money back relies reporting it as soon as possible.

If you have any concerns, or have been affected by a cyber-related issue, report it to us by submitting a Cyber Concerns Online Reporting Form.


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