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

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)

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

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

- 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