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Last minute tips for holiday shopping

Trevor Cooke gives advice to help seasonal shoppers protect themselves from cybercrime whilst online

The holiday season is prime-time for criminals to take advantage of eager shoppers. With Christmas fast approaching, last-minute Christmas buyers might overlook red flags as they rush to get presents bought. Trevor Cooke, online security expert from EarthWeb, gives tips on how to stay safe online during the holidays.

Too Good To Be True

If a Christmas deal seems too good to be believed, it probably is. Scammers often use enticing offers to lure unsuspecting shoppers. If you find a deal on a branded product that is well below the normal price then you should be wary, for example if a bike is normally $1,000 but you see it selling for $400 you should question why.

What to do? Cooke advises triple checking the credibility of the website before purchasing. Read online reviews and check social media profiles to verify the business is legitimate.

Beware Fake Gift Cards

Fake gift cards promise substantial discounts or free purchases from popular retailers or online platforms. However, they’re used to steal personal and financial information.

QR codes on fake gift cards can take people to malicious websites, or cause them to download malware onto their devices. Always be cautious and only purchase gift cards from reputable sources.

Watch Your Wi-Fi

If you’re making purchases on the go using public Wi-Fi at places like coffee shops or train stations, be extra cautious. These Wi-Fi networks are less secure so the ideal is to use a trusted and password-protected network.

However you can also use VPN networks to encrypt your internet connection, safeguard your data, and ensure online privacy. VPNs do this by masking your IP address and location from potential cyber criminals.

Don’t Fall Victim To Phishing

There is an increase in phishing activity leading up to the holiday season as criminals know that people are in shopping-mode.

Be cautious of emails or messages claiming to be from online retailers, asking for personal information or payment details.

Always verify the sender's email address and double-check the legitimacy of the request.

Cooke concludes, “While the holiday season is indeed a busy time for cybercriminals, being aware and prepared can make all the difference. By staying informed about their tactics and following these simple safety tips, you can shop for your last-minute gifts with confidence and peace of mind. Remember, a little caution goes a long way in ensuring your Christmas shopping is joyful and secure.”

EarthWeb helps you discover the best research guides and resources for tech and online privacy. Their mission is to help you simplify processes and make informed buying decisions. Trevor Cooke is the online privacy expert at EarthWeb. His personal mission is to help keep consumers safe by keeping them informed of privacy tips and common online scams.


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