Christmas shoppers warned to be vigilant when shopping online for the best deal

As the latest research confirms that 74 per cent of customers are preparing to order their Christmas shopping online, we at Noddle are advising Christmas shoppers to be alert to the risk of identity theft and bogus websites this festive season.

The research undertaken by YouGov* also found:

  • The majority of shoppers (77 per cent) plan to turn their backs on credit and instead use their savings and salaries to fund Christmas 2014.
  • While a huge 85 per cent say they will spend either less or around the same as last year –therefore potentially tempting shoppers to look for the cheapest price and risk using websites they are not familiar with and which may not be genuine.
  • Only 10 per cent of consumers confirmed they will use credit, a start contrast to 2013 when 30 per cent said they would fund their Christmas spending through additional forms of credit**.

Jacqueline Dewey, Managing Director – Noddle, commented “Consumers are increasingly looking to the web to do their shopping and it’s a great place to find that special gift for someone at the best price. However, they should be mindful of which websites or apps they are giving personal details such as their names, addresses and card details to, as fraudsters look to create new and more sophisticated ways to obtain personal details”

As many shoppers now look to use the web to do their shopping it’s vital that they take sufficient care to keep their financial details safe. More organisations are now providing easy access to their online services through the provision of apps. However this also provides an opportunity to fraudsters who set up bogus ‘apps’ in order to capture personal information on the premise of providing goods and services.

To help you stay safe while shopping online this Christmas period, here are a few of our top cyber safety savvy tips.

Avoid sites that don’t look or feel right

When chasing those amazing deals on the lead up to Christmas, it can be tempting to click through to unknown websites on the promise of the best savings but remember that when something looks too good to be true it often is.
Fraudsters could be trying to entice you in.  Always do some checks online to find outwhether or not the site you’re on is legitimate and that the website URL is spelt correctly as cyber criminals will often create copy-cat versions of popular sites to try and con your out of your cash If it doesn’t feel right then always be wary.

Look For Padlocks

Before you hand over your payment details always make sure that the website you’re on uses secure software.  When you’re at the checkout screen check that the web address begins with https and that an image of a tiny locked padlock appears in the address bar or the bottom right corner of the screen.

Don’t tell too much

To make a transaction online, remember that retailers don’t need your personal information such as your date of birth, your mother’s maiden name or your National Insurance number. But crooks need them because this information combined with the bank details you’ve just entered to ‘pay’ for you products could be everything they need to steal your identity online and ensure that they have a very merry Xmas while you foot the bill.

Beware Free Wi-Fi

It’s a good idea to never access secure websites or input your personal details while using a free or public Wi-Fi connection as someone could be watching everything you are typing and viewing over the internet connection.  In fact, it’s a good idea to never use open Wi-Fi connections at all if you can help it and if you must, then make sure your firewall and anti-virus software is up to date.

Pay by card for extra protection

If you’re spending over £100 online then, where possible, it’s a good idea to pay by credit card as if things go awry and a thief steals your money then you’ve got a stronger chance of getting a refund.  Click here for more information about your rights and protection when paying by card.

Keep A Close Eye On The Details

Checking your bank and credit card accounts regularly as well as checking your Free For Life, Noddle Credit Report can be one of the best ways to know if someone else is using your details. If you spot anything you don’t recognise then query it straight away as strange searches on your credit report or odd amounts of money leaving your account could mean someone has stolen your identity.

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