Beware of fake websites
Spoof websites that look like an official retailer are easy to create for cyber-criminals. Top tip - always check the URL of the website and look our for domain names ending in .net or .org.
Make sure the site is secure
Something not all people know, is at the start of a website URL the 's' in 'https' stands for secure. If it doesn't have the 's', then stay clear from shopping on the site to stay protected.
Purchase with your credit card
Using your credit card can help if something goes wrong with your purchase. Items over £100 are retrievable via a claim using Section 75 of the Consumer Rights Act. Under £100, you can ask the bank to recover the money through 'chargeback'.
Beware of phishing emails
Phishing messages are designed to appear from trusted organisations and aim to trick you into revealing personal details. The emails will usually contain links which when clicked download malicious software or take you through to a realistic looking websites that will prompt you to log in. Once logged in the cyber criminals have your details.
URL's in a phishing email will contain minor differences to the official site. For example 'loginnow.johnlewis.com' could be an alternative to johnlewis.com/sign-in.
Not all customer reviews are real
We all use online review websites to find the best deals. Unfortunately though, amongst the real ones there are millions of fakes.
Be alert to suspicious reviews, that may be duplicates or written by the same person. Trust your instinct, if you believe it to be suspicious then it probably is.
Don't shop on public WI-FI
Internet hotspots may be incredibly convenient but are also the perfect hacking network for a cyber-criminal. They can access your user details or set up their own fake hotspot, so if you’re shopping or banking online use your own 3G/4G network or wait until you get home.
If you believe you've been a victim cyber crime - act fast
Call your bank immediately, if you believe you have been conned and ask them to try and stop the payment. The faster you contact them, the more likely you're getting your money back.
When calling your bank, make sure you use your own number and not one on an email, as this again could be compromised.
If you don't believe enough has been done, you can also report it to Action Fraud.