Don’t be a Victim of E-tail Scammers

Published: 10 November 2023

Black Friday E-tail Scammers

With ‘Black Friday’ nearly upon us and consumers taking advantage of early Christmas offers, there’s never been a more important time to be cyber safe when shopping online.

Cyber crime is an increasing threat to both businesses and consumers – attacks have grown 40% this year, with each data breach costing on average £4,200. Criminals can target you through various platforms – your laptop, phone or even your social media accounts, which have seen a 23.5% increase in hacking in the past year.1

To help keep you safe, we give some advice on how to reduce the risk of being a victim of online fraud.

Be Credit Card Savvy
If possible, always try and use a credit card rather than a debit card when buying on the internet. Credit cards provide a level of safety for the user that a debit card and cash can’t – fraud protection. If a thief uses your card, you can let your credit card company know and avoid being charged.

Anther safe option are ‘disposable’ or ‘single-use’ credit cards. With these virtual cards, different numbers are used for different transactions, but all numbers are linked to the same account. The benefit of this is that your real account number is never revealed to the merchant.

Keep Your Tech Updated
Make sure all software updates, especially security ones, have been carried out on your computer or laptop, as this will help mitigate risk. The same goes for smartphones and tablets – keep them updated.

Watch out for Spurious E-mail Scammers
Common scams doing the rounds at the moment are emails from bogus courier companies saying they have your delivery and asking you to click on a link or attachment. Another way criminals target you is sending a text saying they have your delivery and then ask for personal information, such as your date of birth. Always ignore these emails and texts and never click on links, open attachments or give personal information. If you are unsure, contact the retailer direct to check if it is genuine.

Verify the E-tailer
With smaller artisan-type retailers they may not have the same IT security in place as the bigger corporations, so always make sure some basics are in place – such as their website being secure (look for the padlock symbol next to the domain name in the browser). Traders that allow you to purchase through secure retail platforms such as Shopify are also relatively safe, as Shopify uses two-factor authentication to improve security.

Subscriptions and Renewals
If you make a purchase and it’s a renewal or a subscription, make sure the email you receive is genuine and you’re not paying for something you haven’t actually bought.

And Finally…
The golden rule when it comes to cyber security is to be vigilant – if something doesn’t look right, don’t open or act on it. If in doubt, doing nothing is always the best course of action.

1Sources: Surfshark, National Cyber Security Centre, UK Government




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