Stay safe online on Cyber Monday

Shopping online? Do you know how to stay safe online?

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Black Friday (the last Friday in November), and Cyber Monday (three days later) originated in the USA and are now big news in the UK.

Not only is it the busiest pre-Christmas time of the year for internet shoppers, but it neatly follows many people’s final payday before the need to go Christmas shopping.

As a result, enough people feel flush with disposable income to be able to do their online Christmas shopping now, in good time to get it delivered.

British online shoppers spent £810 million on Black Friday last year, according to figures from Experian and internet retail experts IMRG. This year, some predictions suggest that by the end of Cyber Monday, total sales over the long weekend will be in excess of £3 billion.

Here are 5 things to remember if you are doing the bulk of your Christmas shopping online:

  1. It’s best to use websites that you know and trust.  Always look for a security padlock icon in the top left hand corner of a page before you register financial or personal information on a website. And if an online deal you find, or have been emailed, sounds too good to be true, it quite probably is.
  2. Keep pins and passwords private – It may sound obvious but use strong passwords, especially if you have stored payment details, and it’s a good idea to change them every now and then. It’s best not to use obvious words and dates, such as your birthday, pets’ or children’s names- and never give account details to anyone else.
  3. If possible, install the latest anti-virus and firewall software.  If you’re out and about, make sure you can’t be overlooked when you make a mobile payment – be especially careful around wi-fi, even at home.
  4. Keep an eye on your bank and credit card account balances. Your credit report can also show you if there are any irregularities, such as suspect applications for credit and rises in card balances. As a CreditExpert member you can get unlimited views of your Experian Credit Report and alerts to certain changes so you can potentially spot fraudulent activity.
  5. Buying on credit can give you protection. If you buy goods or services on your credit card, you have extra protection if things go wrong (clothes don’t fit, unwanted gifts etc) compared with paying by cash or even debit card, under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.

One final tip. After you’ve done your shopping, don’t forget what you’ve spent. Try to stay within your credit limits and do try to pay your credit bills on time. Missed or late payments stay on your credit report for at least six years, and this can have a big impact on your future ability to get credit. If you can’t make the minimum payment, speak to your lender as soon as possible.

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