Get Safe Online has issued a warning to Christmas shoppers to be vigilant when it comes to purchasing presents for loved ones online.
The warning comes as recent City of London Police findings show that online crime cost consumers and businesses nearly £11 million last Christmas alone. What’s more, research conducted by Get Safe Online’s partners, Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK), found that 31% of online shoppers admit that they are more likely to take a financial risk if an online retailer offers them a bargain.
Get Safe Online is also urging people to report any fraudulent activity they come across over the holiday period. This comes as a staggering 39% of people in a recent survey by the organization, said that they’d been a victim of online crime but hadn’t reported the incident. The research also found a worrying gap in people’s understanding of what constitutes an online crime, with 86% of the public saying that they hadn’t been targeted by cyber-criminals in the past 12 months, while in fact 68% of respondents had actually been targeted in a variety of ways.
“Being able to beat the Christmas crowds by doing your Christmas shopping online is one of the many perks of the internet,” the group said. “As more and more of us are doing it though, it sadly means that cyber-criminals also see the festive period as an opportunity to scam unsuspecting members of the public who are looking to buy gifts online for loved ones. A lot of money gets lost over the season each year by people unfortunate enough to get caught out, especially as scams become harder to spot. That being said, there are little steps we can take to keep ourselves safe though; simple things like buying from reputable sites, looking out for the padlock in the browser to check its set up with encryption before making a payment and using a credit card or an insured payment method like PayPal so your payment is protected if things do go wrong.”
As advice to consumers, Get Safe Online recommends that everyone take the time to double check that the product one is purchasing is coming from a legitimate website before making a payment. Checking previous customer reviews is often a good touch point for safe online shopping. Also, always check that payment pages are secure, and log out once finished shopping online.