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Keep your Christmas online safe by reading these top tips

Christmas shopping

If something seems too much of a bargain, it could well be of poor quality, not as described… or even non-existent. Do all you can to make sure you’re using an authentic website, check payment pages are secure, and log out when you’ve finished shopping. And remember: it’s always safer to pay by credit card whenever you can.

Buying gifts

When making any kind of purchase from individuals on an auction website, forum or social media, never transfer money directly to people you don’t know, as it may be a fraud. Do all you can to check sellers are authentic.

Counterfeit goods

Don’t intentionally buy counterfeit electrical goods, clothes, cosmetics or other items. They’re contravening copyright and cost the livelihoods of workers who make the authentic versions. And avoid being duped into buying fake goods, by buying only from legitimate websites.

Buying tickets

If you’re buying concert, event, sporting or entry tickets as presents – or treating yourself – buy only from official sources, and in order to avoid fraud never pay by direct transfer.

Booking a holiday, honeymoon or short break

Avoid holiday or travel fraud by checking that what you book is genuine by researching it thoroughly. Confirm travel agents are genuine by checking for an ABTA/ATOL number. Again, never pay by direct transfer.

Avoid subscription traps

Don’t sign up for ‘free’ or ‘low-cost’ trial goods – whether the latest handset or a course of slimming pills – without thoroughly reading the small print. You could be signing up for substantial direct debits which are difficult to get out of.

Be romantic, but don’t get duped

Many romances begin over the festive season. However, as at any time of the year, you need to be careful when it’s online. Don’t reveal too much information – or too much flesh – online or in messages. And be wary of appeals for money, they could be fraudulent.

Greetings messages

Don’t open attachments or click on links in festive emails, texts or social media posts you’re not expecting, as they could be scams. Some ecards can be fraudulent too.

Mobile devices for you and your children

Make sure any new smartphones or tablets you buy for yourself or as gifts are protected by a PIN or passcode, and internet security app. Work with your children to make sure they’ve set up and are using their new device safely online, and know how to spot issues or dangers online.

Think twice

Never be too busy to think twice before you click.