insights and news

How to Shop Safely Online this Christmas Period

10 December 2020

Online shopping is expected to take an even bigger slice of the Christmas retail cake this year, in fact, forecasts show that it’s expected more than 30% of all retail purchases in the UK will happen online in 2020, for the first time ever. Although this level of online retail purchasing is not expected to be maintained in 2021. There is an expectation that there will be a fall in online purchasing back to levels recorded previously to the pandemic. Although it is anticipated that the face of online shopping and consumer habits will not be the same again.


The increased use of the internet through 2020, due to the pandemic, has meant a large increase in cybercrime. In fact, the reported incidents of cybercrimes in 2020 is double of that in 2019. The opportunities that are available for criminals to steal both information and money is higher, as globally there is a higher reliance on the use of the internet to work, socialise and shop. It’s estimated that $1.5 trillion is the global cybercriminal revenue annually with 58% of small business being a target of cybercrime. These are some of the ways that are simple and effective to protect yourself online are;  


Ensure the website is secure

Look for the little padlock symbol on the URL address bar to show that the website is SSL secure. SSL is a security technology that ensures a secure connection between a server and the web browser. This will ensure that any data you input into a website cannot be intercepted and compromised. You will also notice that SSL secured websites start their URL with HTTPS:// instead of just HTTP://.


Up to date anti-virus software

Criminals will attempt to infect devices with malware that can steal your information from your device. It’s crucial to have regularly updated antivirus software on your desktop/laptop. IT professionals consider desktops/laptops to be the most vulnerable devices to cyber threats followed by smartphones and tablets. While email is the main carrier of threats, with 92.4% of malware being sent by email to infect user devices.


Check they have a secure payment gateway

A payment gateway is the equivalent of a card machine at a brick and mortar shop and will ensure each transaction is secure. It allows the merchant site to connect securely to the consumer’s bank and request the transfer of funds to the merchant account.


It also an easy and quick payment process while keeping your data safe as it is not stored or even accessed by the merchant.


Do not carry out transactions when connected to a public Wifi connection.


These connections are not secure and you put yourself at greater risk of having your details stolen. If you really do need to its more advisable to use a VPN service that will better protect you.


Use credit cards

When making larger purchases opt for using credit cards over debit cards as they give you better protection from scams and disputes with merchants.


Think twice before parting with money on a new website that has too good to believe prices as they are much more likely to be a scam. Try to stick to websites you know and when using a new website, perform your due diligence and check out the business and its address to confirm its authenticity.