Stay Secure this Festive Season, and Beware On-Line Scams
Advice Posted on December 31st 2015 By Andy Calloway

Stay Secure this Festive Season, and Beware On-Line Scams

We speak a lot on this blog about the need to ensure your house is kept secure at all times. It makes sense, especially at Christmas when the bad guys are on the prowl and most people are likely to have a lot of very expensive tech lying about. 

But with many people buying things on-line rather than in the stores, the need to be vigilant in the cyber world is ever more critical.

So what should you be checking for when buying on-line? When the sales start, how can you be sure you avoid the scams and make sure you don't start the New Year with a wiped out credit card balance?

If It Sounds Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is

There are loads of offers being pushed in front of us as we surf the web. From Facebook to Twitter and through some of the most popular websites, we'll get adverts telling us how to get a great deal on some piece of extremely desirable tech. I recently saw one that was advertising the iPhone 6 for £1. Of course, it's ridiculous to think you could get such a deal, but it's tempting when to find out all you have to do is click a link.

And that's when they've got you. They'll give you some explanation of the hoops you have to jump through in order to get such deals, all while bombarding you with other deals that eventually a small number of people will go for.

When shopping around, you're obviously going to want to go for a good deal, and you'll want to get a great price, but remember that stores have to buy the stock in the first place and if they're selling stuff for what seems to be below cost price, there's something up.

It could be that they're just liquidating stock. They might be closing down (which has other dangers) and, therefore, need to dump everything, or it could be that the stock sourced at using other means.

Check Your Guarantees

If an on-line store is closing down, how will your rights be affected? The law states that you can return anything within seven days, for any reason. Also, you'll get a certain amount of time to return things if they break down, but what happens if the store isn't around anymore?

If you've bought some tech and the shop disappears, can you return it to the manufacturer? If it's expensive, regardless of the discount you got, it could end up being a waste of money.

Make Sure the Transaction is Secure

Look for the little padlock in the corner of the page when buying on-line and check that everything, including your address details, are secure. And when paying by credit card, double check the security to make sure you don't get sent to some odd looking site to complete the payment.

Although your credit or debit card might give you certain guarantees, they won't insure you against ignorance. It's up to you to use your card carefully, so don't hand over your card number or security code unless you are absolutely sure the website is safe.

Virus Protection

And finally, ensure you're using up-to-date virus protection. Yes, even Mac users, you are not immune!

If you have Windows 10 installed, then you're pretty safe. The Microsoft virus protection is excellent, but you may be better off getting extra protection through a package called MalWare Bytes. This will help protect you from all sorts of spyware apps which will try to hijack your computer and steal your credit card details.

Be Vigilant

Overall, be careful! It sounds obvious, but in the frantic run up to Christmas it can all get a bit hazy on-line, so be very wary of where you're shopping and who you're dealing with.

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