From the array of options at one’s fingertips to the ease of having items delivered to a person’s door, there’s no shortage of reasons why consumers opt for online shopping. However, according to research by McAfee, 45 per cent of people have either fallen victim or know someone who has fallen victim to online fraud or hacking, resulting in money being stolen from their account. Last year, an average of £725 per person was lost to these criminals in the UK, the findings show.
McAfee said that one respondent reported that £48,000 was stolen from their bank account.
Raj Samani, Chief Scientist and McAfee Fellow said: “Online shopping and marketplaces can be a minefield, with cybercriminals exploiting Brits’ personal information to cash-in on bargain hunters.
“McAfee discovered the average Brit lost around £725 to cybercriminals through online shopping, last year.
“This is a staggering number and a clear reminder how important it is for consumers to remain vigilant when online shopping.
“If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is – think before you click on a link to a discount.”
The risk of falling victim to a scam when contacted on social media platforms is also something which buyers are being urged to be aware of.
Mr Samani continued: “The same goes for emails and messages you receive through platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp.
“One of the easiest ways for cybercriminals to target shoppers is through phishing messages via such platforms.
“This is a tactic used to lure consumers into clicking links for products or services that could lead to malware or a dodgy, fake website designed to steal personal information.
“If you don’t know the sender or the message is unexpected, it’s best to avoid clicking on any links shared through social media or email platforms.
“Once you’re sure the website, offer or vendor is legitimate, secure payment must be completed.”
Mr Samani also had a warning for those shopping online in a public space.
“Using public Wi-Fi when out and about might seem like a quick and easy way to purchase on the move, but you could be exposing personal information or credit card details to cybercriminals lurking in the unsecure network,” he said.
“It’s best to wait until you get to a secured home network to conduct personal business.
“If you have to conduct transactions on a public Wi-Fi connection, use a virtual private network (VPN) to help keep your connection secure.”
McAfee’s top tips for shopping safely online:
Avoid “too good to be true” deals
We are all trying to save as much money as we can. But here’s the reality: if a deal seems too good to be true, it often is. These deals could be a cybercriminal attempting to lure you in via phishing so that you cough up your personal data.
Always connect with caution
Public Wi-Fi might seem like a good idea, but if consumers are not careful, they could be unknowingly exposing personal information or credit card details to cybercriminals who are snooping on the network. If you have to conduct transactions on a public Wi-Fi connection use a virtual private network (VPN) to help keep your connection secure.
Think before you click
One of the easiest ways for a cybercriminal to compromise their victim is by using phishing emails to lure consumers into clicking links for products or services that could lead to malware, or a phony website designed to steal personal information. If the deal seems too good to be true, or the email was not expected, it is always best to check directly with the source.
Browse with security protection
As our daily activities become more ingrained in our digital lives, it is important to keep everything protected. A comprehensive security solution can help ensure that your devices are protected against malware, phishing attacks and device-specific protection in the event of loss or theft.