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Stay Safe Online While Internet Shopping

Did you know that one email in 131 contains a virus and 3,660 new malicious websites are discovered every single day?

This week is Get Safe Online Week, designed to educate and inform web users to the dangers and pitfalls lurking in cyberspace.

Despite the obvious risks, research by Get Safe Online suggests 7.8 million internet users in Britain have left their own internet access unsecured with 1 in 2 using the same passwords.

From cybercriminals to spyware, online shopping scams to viruses, the average loss from online crime is a whopping £541.

Get Safe Online – www.getsafeonline.org – gives straightforward advice on its website about online safety and is a joint initiative between the Government, the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) and leading businesses.

This week it released its annual report, which showed, according to research by Ofcom, that four in five adult internet users now shop online with eight in 10 saving money in the last six months through buying on the web.

But while 87% of those questioned for Get Safe Online Week have virus protection on their computers, cybercrime still costs the UK on average £474 million a year.

Shockingly, 19 people fall victim to cybercrime every minute in the UK say security experts Symantec and three times as many Brits have been victims of online crime in comparison to offline crime in the last 12 month.

So what can you do to stay safe while making online purchases?

  • Scammers and cybercrooks thrive on people clicking rogue web links that pretend to be something they’re not. They may promise cheap offers or bargains that seem too good to be true – and they usually are. You’ll likely pay money to someone and will never ever see the product you’ve ordered.
  • Fake links often lead to web pages designed to collect personal information such as addresses and credit card details. These links may look like as if they are a URL from a real
    online store. To be safe, always type a web address in by hand if you’re suspicious.
  • Never use the same passwords for your internet shopping accounts. If one is hacked then all could fall prey to criminals. Use passwords with a mix of letters, numbers and
    special characters and think about not storing credit card details on accounts for future use. Instead input the numbers each time you make a purchase.
  • Always ensure any web page that asks for your credit card details has a URL starting with https:// – there may also be a padlock icon. This shows the link is secure and your
    details can’t be accessed when you hit ‘enter’.
  • It should go without saying that you should always have up-to-date virus software. If you don’t own a security package, check out these products from PC Tools, Titanium, Symantec, McAfee, Kaspersky or F-Secure.
  • If you are buying from an online auction, always read feedback about the seller and pay through a medium offering you protection such as PayPal. But be clear on the rules of
    payment and making the purchase so if there is a problem with the goods, you can raise a claim for your money back.
  • Paying by a credit card for goods offers you an extra level of protection and insurance for purchases over £100.
  • One popular scam now involves tickets for events and concerts. Four in 10 people now turn to the internet to buy tickets for soldout gigs but one in 10 have been a victim of
    criminals who claim to be selling tickets but aren’t. Watch out for links and posts placed on social networks.


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