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Expert encourages consumers to shop safely online this Christmas

26 November 2013 - 13:43 by Graham Miller

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Identity theft expert, Neil Munroe, has spoken to the Daily Express about the importance of carrying out safe shopping online in the run up to Christmas 2013, with consumers urged to take care when using e-commerce sites to avoid scams.

Mr Munroe said that while online shopping is less of a pain than heading to the high street during busy periods, it is important to make sure that private information remains secure and unexploited this year.

For those who are not cautious, there are a number of risks, including the worst case scenario of having your identity stolen by cybercriminals and then used to extract cash from your bank accounts and credit cards, or even generate new accounts using your details to inflict even more damage.

In addition, experts agree that fraud may not be detected immediately and could become apparent only once bills start turning up in January, by which point plenty of damage could have been done.

Mr Munroe said that the popularity of m-commerce sites accessed via smartphones and tablets was opening up a whole new area of potential exploitation. Protecting information when stored on portable devices and shopping while on the move is just as important as if you are using a desktop PC or laptop to pick up presents.

The best way to carry out safe shopping online is to use a retailer you trust and avoid any unsolicited emails, unknown sites and deals that sound too good to be true.

A lot of cyber criminal activities rely on being able to fool consumers into thinking that they are getting a bargain, or that they are visiting a legitimate site. You should be able to see through most scams with a bit of common sense, but using extra vigilance at Christmas is still sensible.