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Festive faux pas: staying safe online over Christmas

Beat the scammers
Community Team

Over the festive period many of us will be shunning the busy high street and opting instead to purchase gifts for loved ones on the Internet.

Whilst this allows you to shop for bargains from the comfort of your home in your pyjamas, unfortunately fraudsters don’t take a break at Christmas. With the majority of Christmas shopping (64%) being done online this year, scammers are using increasingly sophisticated techniques to take advantage of the influx of online transactions taking place throughout the festive period.

Recent figures from Action Fraud, show that an estimated £16m was lost to Christmas shopping fraud in 2016, a 25% increase on the previous year. The amount lost last year would be enough to purchase 246,191  LEGO Star Wars BB-8 sets, predicted to be a top gift this Christmas.

To help you stay safe while shopping online this Christmas, TalkTalk has provided a series of tips:

Check the website

Make sure the shopping website you’re on is authentic and the payment page secure. You can do this by checking that the address starts with ‘https’ (‘s’ is for secure) and there’s a closed padlock in the address bar.

 

Be careful how you pay

Don’t pay for anything by transferring money directly to people or companies you don’t know. If it’s a fraud, it’s unlikely the bank will recover or refund your money. The safest way to pay for anything online is by credit card.

 

Be vigilant with emails, posts and texts

Watch out for any contact that alleges to be from a delivery firm or the retailer that you purchased from. If unsure, contact them on their confirmed customer service channels, and do not open any attachments or follow links.

 

Always log out

When you’ve finished your payment, you should log out of your account, as simply closing the page may not in itself end your session.

 

Only buy tickets from official sources

Buy concert, event, fixture or entry tickets only from official sources such as the box office, sports club or reputable fan ticket exchange site. Only by doing this will you know that your tickets exist and are not fakes.

 

Scrutinise travel operators

Check that any holiday or travel you book online is genuine by researching it thoroughly. Look for independent reviews, and confirm travel agents / tour operators are genuine by checking for an ABTA /ATOL number.

 

Trust your gut instincts

If something seems too much of a bargain … it probably is, as it could well be of poor quality, not as described, or even non-existent.

 

If you think you have been the victim of a scam over whilst shopping online at Christmas or at any time of the year, you should contact the police via Action Fraud (0300 123 2040) and follow its advice on what to do next.

About OCE_Chris

Hey everyone, I've worked for TalkTalk since 2004, as a member of the new broadband support team, moved to second line the following year, then CEO tech team and on to Community in 2009. You'll usually find me on the Broadband and Fibre boards (and email now and again). I'm interested in technology and photography and I'm a big coffee fan, have loads of coffee gadgets and roast my own coffee beans

Check out more blogs from OCE_Chris