Christmas shopping – it either gets you excited for the festive season or it’s something to get through as quickly as possible, but everyone has their own preference for how they like to shop. Some prefer to brave the stores in search of a bargain, while others would rather browse from the comfort of their own home.
No matter how you’re picking up your gifts this Christmas, our security tips will help make sure you don’t get any nasty surprises along the way.
More and more of us are shopping online now, so make sure you don’t get caught out by this by following our tips:
Use a secure internet connection
It can be convenient while you’re out and about to connect to a public Wi-Fi, if you’re sat with friends in a café or on public transport. But it’s not a good idea to use this to make transactions online.
This is because you don’t know who is responsible for the network you’re using, unlike your own internet connection at home. The fact that anyone can join the network is what makes it unsafe, as a hacker could easily get their hands on the password and compromise the network.
If you have no choice but to use this type of connection, make sure the URL of the payment page of the site you are buying from has “https” (the “s” stands for secure) in the address bar and a padlock symbol when inputting your details.
Buy from well-known sites
This may sound obvious, but only shop using reputable and well-known retail sites. When surfing the web you should be suspicious of any offers that you stumble across: if they seem too good to be true they probably are!
If you find a site that seems to be offering reputable goods for a fraction of the usual price, ask friends or family if they’ve heard of or used the site before. If they haven’t, see if they have any alternative sites they could recommend to you. Alternatively, a quick Google search of the name of the site should bring up any suspicious activity.
Make sure your computer is protected
As your banking details are some of the most sensitive information you can transfer online, you need to make sure they’re safe. One of the ways that you can do this is to ensure that your computer is installed with antivirus and that this is up-to-date.
There aren’t as many threats to your security when shopping in-store, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t remain vigilant. Remember the following:
Cover your PIN
This should go without saying, but always cover your PIN when making a transaction in-store – you never know who could be behind you! Keep your card safe at all times and if you do lose it report it to your bank or card provider as soon as possible.
If you’re making a purchase of £100 or more, it can make sense to use your credit card to pay – if you have one. This is because under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act you may be able to claim a refund up to the value of £30,000 from your credit card provider if the firm you bought from goes bust or fails to deliver, or if the goods aren’t up to scratch. To read more about this type of credit card protection, click here.
Check your statements
We know how busy this time of the year can be, but make sure to check your debit or credit card statements at the end of the month. This way you can confirm that there are no unexpected transactions on your account that could be fraudulent and, of course, it will ensure that you know exactly where your money has gone!
Here at thinkmoney, we know how important it is to keep your money safe – that’s why we recently launched a new text alert service. As part of this, we’ll send you a text if we detect a transaction that seems unusual for your account.
We won’t text you from our usual thinkmoney number, but from 07480357017 instead. All you have to do is text back “YES” if you did make the transaction or “NO” if you don’t recognise it and we’ll stop your card from being used fraudulently. You can read more about this service here.