If something seems too good to be true it probably is. This Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend, with level 5 restrictions still in play and our brick and mortar shops closed, the online environment will be a cyber criminal’s playground with growing numbers of us doing our Christmas shopping online.

The notion that ‘it won’t happen to me’ is risky in an environment where attacks are constant, always evolving, and usually automated on a vast scale. Criminals are playing a numbers game and there is a good chance that you will have already crossed their path, whether you know it or not.

Make sure to have your wits about you and only deal with sites or retailers you know and trust. If you have not shopped with a site previously, ask friends or family if they have purchased with them before and how they got on. Search for reviews of or issues with a website before submitting your credit card details to any new sites.

Keep a close eye on your credit card statement, a transaction as low as €1 or €2 can be a sign that your card has been compromised, a simple call to your bank will clarify any potential fraud.

In good news, from 1st January 2021, online transactions in Europe will be subject to Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) measures – requiring banks to request additional information from consumers, such as a fingerprint or a four-digit one-time passcode, to verify a purchase.

In the meantime, using mobile payment systems is a great way to stay safe when shopping online; using Apple or Google Pay provides an extra layer of safety. Online banks such as Revolut are offering customers free disposable virtual cards, a one-use number which is destroyed after each purchase.

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