With Christmas just around the corner here are some suggestions for how you and your loved ones can stay safe online over this festive period and beyond.

The Shift Online

The pandemic has prompted a huge shift online this year for work and now, with the second wave in full flight, for online shopping. Back in June, an Alvarez & Marsal and Retail Economics survey showed that 17.2 million British consumers (25 per cent of the population) were planning to make permanent changes to the way they shop i.e., by shopping more online. This Christmas, this trend is now becoming a reality as online sales surge as well as an extra forecast surge of online purchases on Christmas Day as soon as retailers lower prices on Christmas Eve.

It is no surprise therefore that the Christmas spending period of November and December is a favourite time of year of fraudsters, many of whom may already have cashed in with COVID-19 scams earlier in the year e.g., fake investment, test and trace, PayPal email and vaccine scams.

With all these potential threats around, here are some suggestions for how you and your loved ones can stay safe.

General Tips

Before going online shopping, make sure that you have:

Online Shopping Tips

Devices and Gadgets

Many (smart) gadgets and devices and IoT items are given as gifts at Christmas. These could include fitness watches, toys, and household as well as computer devices. Some of the ways you can minimise security risks include:

Children

Christmas is a particularly special time of year for children, many of whom will either receive a tech gift or will be using technology for entertainment and communications, and who may be out of sight for longer periods of time while the adults are involved in other Christmas activities. Ways to help keep children safe and happy online and when using gadgets and tech games over Christmas include:

Parents can find more helpful advice about apps, games (TikTok, Roblox) social media and more from Netaware https://www.net-aware.org.uk/ or Common Sense Media https://www.commonsensemedia.org/.

Happy Christmas

You may already be using many of these suggestions and a good helping of common sense as part of your online routines. In order to make sure that you have a happy Christmas in the online world, therefore, the message is to be prepared and always check and take a minute before clicking.

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