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How to stay safe while shopping online this Christmas

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It’s the busiest time of year for online shopping as we approach Christmas but while we are enjoying the convenience, shoppers need to exercise caution so they can stay safe online.

Online sales are thriving with year-on-year growth in Europe and the US at 18.4 per cent and 13.8 per cent respectively.

This volume is expected to double worldwide in the next three years.

But while online stores prepare for the rush, cyber criminals are also seeing the rise in shopping numbers as an opportunity to steal financial details.

There are a number of ways hackers can steal your data and NordVPN, a VPN service provider that helps secure online experience, has outlined ways for customers to stay safe online.

1. HTTPS

Take a look at the online store web address and check to see it starts with https:// – this indicates a secure protocol and the data you share, like your credit card information, is encrypted.

2. PUBLIC WI-FI

Using a public wi-fi connection could expose you to hackers and cyber criminals who are trying to catch your personal and financial information.

Public wi-fi networks have little or no security so avoid them if you’re making an online payment.

3. FRAUDULENT WEBSITES

Check to see the site where you intended to shop is actually real. Check the website address and be sure there no misspellings.

This is a trick hackers use so customers don’t notice the URL is different to the real site. For example, “eBayy” instead of “eBay”.

4. BE WARY

If a shopping website asks for more information than is usually required, this should ring alarm bells.

If they ask for things like your social security number or other personal information it usually means fraud is their motive.

5. STRONG PASSWORDS

The most basic and common requirement that secure your account and personal information, is often the easiest way in for hackers when we create weak, easy to crack passwords.

Have a password of at least eight characters and includes upper case and lower cases letters along with numbers, symbols and punctuation.

6. USE A VPN

A VPN (virtual private network) can encrypt your data when you share it across the internet to make sure it is safe and secure from prying eyes.

NordVPN offers fast connection speeds, strong encryption protocols and good global coverage at a reasonable price.