We wish you a happy and Safe On line Xmas Shopping Experience

Merry Christmas. Well, it can be if you are careful when you shop online. Not only will you get what you paid for but no nasty surprises on your credit card bill or on your device later on. Nowadays people have really taken to online shopping. Personally, I have done all my Xmas Shopping.

Yes, all while watching the Black Caps beat up the West Indies and Aussie demolish India. Sorry, this blogger is a cricket tragic. But all done without having to fight my way through a mall or wait in line to pay. So how do we keep ourselves safe and get Santa (well the courier guy) to deliver the right stuff. Here are a few ideas


Use Sites or Businesses You Know 

Start at a trusted site. Search results can be rigged to lead you astray, especially when you drift past the first few pages of links. If you know the site, chances are it’s less likely to be a rip-off. We all know Briscoes, The Warehouse, Glassons the list is endless every major retail outlet has an online store. Beware of misspellings or sites using a different top-level domain (.net instead of .com, for example), those are the oldest tricks in the book. Yes, sales on these sites might look enticing, but that’s how they trick you into giving up your info. Worse they take your money and don’t deliver.

Look for the Lock

Never buy anything online using your credit card from a site that doesn’t have SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption installed—at the very least. You’ll know if the site has SSL because the URL for the site will start with HTTPS—instead of just HTTP. An icon of a locked padlock will appear, typically to the left of the URL in the address bar or the status bar down below; it depends on your browser. HTTPS is standard now even on non-shopping sites, enough that Google Chrome flags any page without the extra S as “not secure.” So a site without it should stand out even more.

Check Statements Regularly

Don’t wait for your bill to come at the end of the month. Go online regularly during the holiday season and look at electronic statements for your credit card, debit card, and checking accounts. Look for any fraudulent charges, even originating from payment sites like PayPal and any others you use. It is preferable that you only buy online with a credit card. If your debit card is compromised, scammers have direct access to your bank funds. Any seller that wants a different kind of payment, like wired money, is a big red flag. Reputable auction sites like Trade Me have payment protection in place. There are protections even if you’re not happy with a purchase you did make. If you are buying from a reputable store they are more than happy to make it right, some have free returns policies.  If you see something wrong, pick up the phone to address the matter quickly. In the case of credit cards, pay the bill only when you know all your charges are accurate.

Immunise Your Computer

Swindlers don’t sit around waiting for you to give them data; sometimes they give you a little something extra to help things along. Always beware of offers you may see. If it looks too good to be true it probably is  You need to protect against malware with regular updates to your antivirus program. There are some very effective free programs available. We would recommend that you pay for a full-blown security suite, which will have antivirus software, but also will fight spam, spear-phishing emails, and phishing attacks from websites (the latter two try and steal your personal info by mimicking a message or site that looks legit). Remember, it’s not enough to have it installed. Make sure your anti-malware tools are always up to date. Otherwise, they can let in any new threats—and there are always new threats.

Beware of Free WiFi 

While many are safe this is like letting someone else into your bubble. Except you are letting everyone who has used this wifi into your E Bubble. Personally, I DO NOT USE FREE WIFI. I just don’t know what may be hidden in there. So I use my mobile data either on my phone or hot spot my laptop if I am using this. Most mobile plans nowadays have affordable data.

One other thing while using your devices in public you just never know who is watching. Sound paranoid but this happens a skilled thief can see what you are typing and use this information later.

Stay up to date

No operating system or application is perfect. There’s always the possibility a coding error could compromise security in some way. Of course, vendors do their best to close these holes, but a security update won’t help if you don’t install it. Be sure to have Automatic Updates turned on in Windows, and keep other browser-related technologies like Java and Flash updated too.

Hackers are always finding new ways to beat the system. So software companies are always updating their software. It is important your device is updated



Website Deals and Offers

The majority of parents have experienced the emotional stress of trying to find the year’s hottest toy for their little ones. It is usually sold out months before Christmas and is always the one that they continue advertising even though every toy store within a  10K  radius will not have it back in stock until after Christmas. Phishermen relish the fact that parents will do anything to ensure that they attain that toy. Creating a bogus website and a fake Facebook page takes very little time for the Phisherman or woman. With this website, they offer unbelievable deals and offers on these in-demand toys. These websites ensnare panicked parents who unwittingly either purchase the toy on the bogus website or enter their details to be in for a chance of winning one for free.  Or it could just be a gift idea that is such a good deal it is hard to pass up. Whatever it is use the old adage “If it is too good to be true….”

So to quote a very old police tv show “Let’s Be Careful Out There”

Have a happy and safe holiday 

Team at Web8



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