The News consumer champion's 7 tips for safe online shopping at Christmas

WITH the busy Christmas shopping season now in full swing, many prefer to do their shopping online.

Sunday, 25th November 2018, 12:20 pm
Updated Tuesday, 8th January 2019, 4:58 pm
Online shopping is a doddle - but hackers are out to get spenders at Christmas, warns Richard Thomson. Picture: Pexels (labelled for reuse)
Online shopping is a doddle - but hackers are out to get spenders at Christmas, warns Richard Thomson. Picture: Pexels (labelled for reuse)

But The News' consumer expert Richard Thomson is warning it is also a peak time for hackers and scammers.

Action Fraud, the national fraud reporting centre, has revealed online shoppers were swindled out of £58m in almost 43,000 fraud incidents last year. But there are steps that can be taken to avoid being ripped off:

- Stick to the big high street retail names if you can

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- If you are tempted to buy from a small or unknown seller, always buy via an established marketplace

- Be alert to special offers too good to be true arriving by email or SMS. They frequently contain links designed to steal your login or bank details

- Ensure your software is up to date. Security updates close loopholes rogues use to gain access to your devices

- Use retailers' mobile apps instead of websites to reduce the risk of being directed to a fake site

- Never use public wifi to place online orders. It's a godsend to hackers who set up cloned websites to intercept passwords and credit card details

- Use a credit card rather than debit card to pay for online purchases. The card issuer may be equally liable if you've been stung