Black Friday - shopping safely online

Black Friday is coming up as well as Christmas and many of us will be ordering Christmas presents as well as many other goods online.Businesses and individuals lost £16.5m through online fraud last Christmas period and many people get caught up in the excitement of bargain events such as Black Friday and fail to remain vigilant.How do youmake sure that you are bagging a bargain rather than falling foul of criminals?Staying safe when shopping onlineWatch out for fake sitesWatch out for fake websites. These can be very convincing and the run up to Christmas and events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday are a great opportunity for clever fraudsters to con you into thinking that you are buying from a genuine site.If it’s a site that you normally use, watch out for it looking different or for any spelling mistakes as this could be a sign that it’s a fake site. Check the address details and if in doubt – contact them.Don’t follow Email linksIf you receive e-mail offers with links to follow (even if the email appears to come from a well-known company), be wary. It is better to leave the email and visit the website of that company than to follow the link in the email, which may take you to a fake site or may infect your mobile device or computer with a virus.Don’t use unsecured public WiFiIf you are out and about, be careful about using public WiFi that is unsecured. Most WiFi hotspots and not secure, which means that your personal information could be accessed and you could become the victim of credit card fraud. The advice is to avoid online shopping and entering your personal payment details whilst using public WiFi.Becareful when making online paymentsWhen shopping online, at some point you will be asked for payment. If you are purchasing goods worth over £100 it is better to pay by credit card than debit card as you will be protected under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. If you are under 18, you won’t have a credit card, so if possible it might be a good idea to get a parent or guardian to make the purchase for you.Always look for the padlock sign in the browser window frame (not on the page) and check for https:// as this indicates that the site is secure. If you don’t see this – don’t enter any of your payment information. If you are redirected to another page or payment site – check that this is secure also.You will never be asked for your PIN number or online banking password – if you are asked for this exit the site immediately. You will however be asked for your security code which appears on the back of your card and remember to log out immediately after completing your purchase.

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