The Sunday Post (Inverness)

Stay safe online at Christmas

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Fraud and security may be the last thing on people’s minds as they get ready for the end-of-year festivitie­s.

However, criminals have been planning the whole year to take advantage of the holiday season – it is their most profitable period.

This time last year, fraudsters stole £11 million from Britons through online scams.

Here, Ashley Hart, head of fraud at the TSB, shares his three top tips with Raw Deal readers for protecting against fraud this Christmas...

1: Desperate to get that must-have toy, and you finally find one in stock? Ask yourself if that’s too good to be true. Do you recognise the website? Trust the retailer? Is the price just too tempting?

Remember – if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

2: Fraudsters will list products for sale that don’t exist. Are all the images copied from a web search? Poor seller reviews? Being asked to make a payment outside of the auction site’s normal process?

Treat an electronic payment like you would cash – don’t send one to somebody you don’t know and trust. Always use a trusted website, and stick to their recommende­d payment process. Look for the padlock symbol in the address bar and check the domain name to ensure there’s an “s” on the end of “http” which indicates the site is secure.

3: Out of ideas for presents? Many of us turn to the trusty gift card as a back-up. But is it trustworth­y? Scammers offering discounted gift cards might well be selling you one they’ve already used. Only buy gift cards from a reputable retailer, or direct from the company they’re for.

“Above everything, stop and think before you click.

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