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Tips for Avoiding Christmas Shopping Scams

Christmas is meant to be a time for things that mean joy, peace, happiness, and goodwill to all, right? But sadly, criminals aren’t really getting that message. In fact, according to some cybersecurity experts, they predict that online crimes actually start to increase but over half over the holiday period.

These things, unfortunately, aren’t a surprise. The amount of shopping that we do online increases, with the likes of Black Friday sales, Cyber Monday, and other holiday sales and holiday shopping in the run-up to Christmas. 

So do you know how best to protect yourself in the right way and prevent check fraud or avoid things like online fraud in the run-up to the holidays? Here are some of the things that you can be doing to make sure that you are faced with the reality of this time of year, and don’t get your information or money taken.

Fake websites

One of the easiest things to spot is a fake website, especially if you know what you are looking out for. Scammers will set up shops that look similar to another or will copy a brand name. But if you try to get something from a site like this, then you could get your credit card details taken, without anything ever arriving in the post.

One of the things to look out for is the web address. Something like paypal.com could actually look like paypal-us.com, for example. You should also look for the ‘s’ in the ‘https’ part of the web address. The ‘s’ means that the site is secure and can be trusted. Fake sites won’t have this. 


Phishing emails

Another common scam is through emails that are phishing for your details and information. One of the tricky things is that they will look a lot like a retailer that is well-known that you use. So it can be easy to click a link if you see an email from ‘your’ Apple account saying that you’ve bought something for $200. So if you don’t recognize the retailer or the email address, then be careful before you click through to something. Doing so can mean clicking on something that could be a virus to your computer or that could steal your information. Look out for things like spelling mistakes, strange web addresses, and clicking on the email address to see the full reply address. It makes a big difference. But importantly, don’t click anything or download anything. 

Use a Credit Card

When you buy something online, there is a little more protection that comes from using your credit card, rather than a checking or debit card account. The credit card companies have some protection if something doesn’t ever turn up, for example, and if someone uses your card fraudulently, then it can be easier to cancel if the credit card has been used. So that is something that can make a difference and that you might not have thought of before. Stay safe when you’re out there and shopping online this season.

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