It’s time to start thinking about Christmas shopping (if you haven’t already!)…so here’s a reminder to help you STAY SAFE ONLINE THIS CHRISTMAS!
We all know Christmas is a time for family and friends, enhanced by the enjoyment of giving those gifts you’ve spent your last few months (or maybe days!) scouring the shops and internet for.
But what many of us forget is that, with the increase in internet shopping over recent years, it’s also a real target time for spammers, scammers, hackers and fraudulent websites, all just waiting for you to let your guard down.
So, here at Nexus, we thought we’d give you our own little techy reminder to make sure your Christmas cheer (and money) doesn’t disappear!
– Know your retailer: safe shopping websites should begin with ‘https’, not just ‘http’. You should also see a padlock symbol in your browser.
– When looking for bargains, be careful where you find them: while sites such as ‘kelloo’ and ‘pricegrabber’ are great for finding bargains, other sites like ‘safebuy’ or ‘shopsafe’ find bargains and check retailers before listing them. This doesn’t mean you can’t use the first two, but it does mean you should be vigilant about any listed shopping sites you may not have heard of.
– In such cases, check out online reviews or possible complaints about sites you do not know: type the name of the online shop into a search engine to pull up any results.
– Check for Signs of Danger on any sites you are unfamiliar with:
– bad spelling or grammar are often giveaways;
– watch out when using foreign sites, particularly if a usually expensive product is being sold cheaply – you could be buying a fake;
– if a site insists on payment only by Western Union or bank transfer and offers no alternative, do not complete the transaction.
– Try to pay by Credit Card wherever possible: particularly for single item orders over £100. Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act you will be protected if things go wrong.
– PayPal offer full buyer protection when goods are not delivered. Do be vigilant when paying via this method on smaller sites; where some small traders use this legitimately, others may not.
– Register your cards with Verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode: when prompted if you haven’t done so already. It may seem like a chore, but it’s actually quick and easy, and it means you’ll have that extra bit of protection for your money. Whenever you try to make a purchase with these cards online, you will have to enter a password for your transaction to continue and be accepted. You can sign up to Verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode at the website of the bank or card issuer, or some participating online merchants will provide the opportunity to do so upon checkout.
– Make a note of all order confirmation numbers and print out receipts wherever possible. That way, you know when each item should be arriving, and you can prove your purchase if things go wrong.
KEEP YOUR PC SAFE AS WELL AS YOUR CARDS!
Remember, it is not only your money that some fraudsters are after; unfortunately there are some who want access to your computer, too. And with all the information and precious memories we store on these devices, we should be keeping them as guarded as possible as a matter of course.
– Always ensure that your antivirus software is fully up-to-date and that any issues are promptly resolved.
– Try to keep your operating system as current as possible: Windows 7 (Microsoft) and OS X Lion (Apple) are the latest operating systems for our machines at present. Though you may be happy with your old OS and sceptical about an upgrade, newer systems usually have improved security measures that work better with your constantly updating antivirus software. This should mean better security all-round.
– Keep your browser up to date. For the same reasons as above, little updates can make a big difference – even if you aren’t aware of them. These can repair unseen security holes that could compromise your system if left untouched.
– Remember, when shopping online this Christmas, take note of delivery periods.
– Make sure you leave plenty of time to receive your shopping so that you don’t turn up to dinner empty-handed.
– Last-minute shoppers may think they’re safe with mentions of ‘expected delivery within —’, but you can’t be too careful over the festive season. More often than not, these are just clauses exempting the retailer from liability if they fail to deliver; those using Royal Mail may have a different cut-off date for Christmas as compared to those using companies such as FedEx or Parcelforce.
– So, unless you pay for a specified delivery period or date, always read the small print on the website you are buying from.
AND ONE LAST THING…
If you’re lucky enough to find a new computer under the Christmas tree this year, remember to get your antivirus software and security updates sorted before venturing online. It may be tempting to put this off until later, in favour of checking out what your new machine can do, but don’t jeopardise your Christmas cheer by letting those hackers get to you before Boxing Day.
And, if you are unsure of what to do, bring your new gift to a specialist who will make sure everything is working properly for you. Here at Nexus IT Support and Repair in Gerrards Cross and Beaconsfield, our friendly technicians can do just that. We can also set up your machine to do other things such as automatically backup your work, and wirelessly connect to other devices in your home.
For more information, use the navigation buttons above to read about our different services. Alternatively, give us a call on 01753 884 700 (Gerrards Cross office) or 01494 730 120 (Beaconsfield office) and book yourself in at your local IT Support office.
So please remember, stay safe while shopping this Christmas!!