Amid the Covid-19 pandemic and related restrictions, this year’s Christmas will inevitably be different from any other year, as for security reasons many purchases will not take place in physical stores or shopping malls, but online.
In order not to make users-consumers victims of online fraud, the experts of the international cybersecurity company ESET —creator of the homonymous anti-viruses software— which is also widely used in Greece, published a number of instructions:
Buy from reputable online stores
As with any holiday season, scammers create fake online stores to lure unsuspecting victims and deceive them. To reduce the risk of fraudulent online stores, it is a good idea to make your purchases from reputable stores that have good reviews.
If an offer seems too good to be true, then it probably isn’t
Over the festive period, scammers take advantage of the fact that —as a rule— consumers cannot resist a low price. However, you should be careful with luxury brands or technology products that are sold at an extremely low price. Low prices that look too good to be true are probably a scam. Therefore, be sure to avoid any extreme discounts that seem suspicious, especially if they come from an unknown supplier.
Buy only from Web pages that use encryption (HTTPS)
When you search for the right gift online and finally locate the online store from which you want to buy it, first check if the website of the online store uses encryption. Look for the icon of a small padlock in the address bar of your browser. In this case the website address will start with “https: //”.
This type of encryption ensures that sensitive data, such as your account credentials, is not sent without protection. This encryption adds an additional layer of security, regardless of whether you are shopping using your home wireless network (Wi-Fi), or a public wireless access point. All legitimate online stores use encryption, however, and fake websites have slowly begun to use this encryption.
Use high-quality security software that includes online protection
While shopping online, one of the best security measures you can take is to use a reliable and comprehensive security solution; these usually include features such as blocking known unreliable websites, protecting against most types of attacks, and even protecting payments for your online purchases and transactions.
Think before you buy or give your personal information
Before you buy something, take a deep breath and think about what you’re going to buy, where and what kind of information you’ll give the online store to complete your purchase. If you decide to buy anyway, look at the personal information requested by the store, fill in only the necessary information, as personal information could be used maliciously if it falls into the wrong hands, for example in case of a data breach.
Don’t shop online via hotspots, only use secure internet connections
It may seem tempting for you to complete some of your purchases while you wait for your order in a store or while you refueling your car. But you should avoid doing this while you’re connected to a public wireless access point; public networks are usually targeted by cyber criminals, so they’ll try to compromise your device, or interfere with your communications. A better idea would be to use your mobile data, and if you can’t avoid a public connection, at least use a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt your traffic.
Check your payment receipt and contact your bank and store if you notice anything strange
After making a purchase, check your account balance to make sure everything is OK and that the price you paid for the product corresponds to the price you saw. If something seems strange, such as e.g. If the price is higher, or there is some unusual activity, you should immediately contact the bank that issued your card for clarification. If something really suspicious comes up, you can avoid losing money from cyber criminals by canceling your card.
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