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As the festive season arrives, many of us are thinking about the gifts we are planning to give. We can often find ourselves reluctant to buy anything until the end of November in the hope that we can get a good deal in the Black Friday sales. While finding the best price for goods that we wish to purchase is always important, it’s also vital that we stay safe online during Black Friday.
Black Friday is often seen as the beginning of the festive season for hackers as they can take advantage of less-careful shoppers that are eager to grab the best bargain they can find. The volume of Internet transactions is always high during the Black Friday weekend. We thought that in this blog we would put together some tips and advice on how to stay safe online during Black Friday and the festive period.
Use a credit card
If you’re buying something online make sure that you always use a credit card for your transaction. Credit cards, unlike debit cards, come with consumer protection for purchases that cost between £100 and £30,000. Consumer protection means that the credit card company will have equal responsibility with the seller if there is an issue with the items purchased or if the seller’s company fails. If you’re buying presents this Black Friday, make sure you are using a credit card if you can.
Watch out for fake websites
It’s really easy to copy a retailer’s website. You may find yourself on a fake website by clicking on links from social media or emails. We would recommend always going to the website direct through their known web address or a Google search. You can usually spot a fake website through odd URLs or spelling mistakes on the page. If you do spot anything suspicious, try and find the item somewhere more reputable.
Watch out for big discounts
Black Friday is known for being a time to get good discounts, just make sure that those discounts are not too good to be true. If a discount looks particularly tempting you need to think about whether it’s genuine or a scam. We would recommend comparing it to other retailers that sell similar items. If they haven’t slashed their prices in a similar fashion then we would question its legitimacy.
Only use secure websites
If you’re buying something online you should always make sure that the retailer’s website is secure. There are two main ways of identifying if a website is secure or not. The first method of spotting a secure website is by looking for the padlock symbol next to the web address in your Internet browser. If you can’t find the padlock it’s probably not as secure as it could be as it does not have something called an SSL certificate. An SSL certificate authenticates the identity of a website and encrypts information. Another way to check a website is secure is the web address itself. If the web address begins with ‘https’ instead of ‘http’ it will have an SSL certificate.
Avoid public places
If you’re in a public place you need to be careful with what you’re doing online. If you’re using public Wi-Fi in a place like a library, hotel or coffee shop then you need to remember that these are shared networks and not secure. It’s easy for other people to access your information and intercept your payment details.
Be wary of phishing emails
During the Black Friday weekend, you will receive many emails advertising discounts and offers. It’s important to be wary of phishing emails that may be malicious. Make sure that you think before you click on any links and attachments. We would suggest that you Google the retailer and go to their website that way instead of following a direct link.
Black Friday is a great opportunity for discounted Christmas shopping. Make sure if you are shopping online during the Black Friday weekend that you are being careful and wary of any scams.