A recent advisory from the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre has warned consumers of the online threats they could face over the festive season as they attempt to stay cyber safe. This is primarily due to the rise of online shopping, something that has only increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as UK Finance revealed that December 2020 saw a higher proportion of online shopping than any other previous year.
With just days to go until Christmas, the NCSC, has advised shoppers to follow its advice on protecting devices and shopping securely online. The last-minute dash for buying presents, combined with this increase in online shopping, could leave more people vulnerable to falling for scams, especially those that use topical ‘lures’, such as spoofing retailers’ sales or notifications from legitimate delivery companies.
The NCSC Director for Policy and Communications, Nicola Hudson, said: “It’s great that people have the option to buy online as we enter the final days of Christmas shopping, but they should be alert to opportunistic scammers at this time of year.
“The good news is that there are common signs of scams that people can look for as they try and stay cyber safe. For example, offers that seem too good to be true or claim that particular items are in short supply are usually signifiers of cyber criminal activity.
“There are practical steps that people can take to protect themselves, though, whether it is setting strong passwords on accounts, to researching a brand before buying.”
Some of the key criteria to avoid gifting the scammers this Christmas: