Black Friday and Cyber Monday: How to Stay Safe Shopping Online


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Don’t be a victim of credit card fraud. Image by 401(k) 2012

Black Friday is almost here.

Shopping for presents around this time of year is hectic, tiring, and doesn’t get you into the Christmas mood.

Instead of braving the shops, why not shop online from the comfort of your own home?

Cyber Monday is a convenient alternative to the crowded stores, but before you start handing over your credit card number, you need to be aware of hackers, scammers and those wanting to steal your identity.

How Do I Know a Website Is Safe?

All websites that offer the ability to pay for things online should have an SSL certificate. This means that they encrypt your details. It’s easy to tell whether a website has this extra safety measure in place.

  1. You should see a locked padlock symbol in the address bar (not on the page!).
  2. The address bar should start with https:// and not http:// – the ‘s’ indicates the security.
  3. Newer version of browsers will turn green on secure websites.

Always Check the Web Browser

As well as looking out for the https:// in the URL, you need to make sure that the web address looks right. Most stores will have their own name in the web address, such as and, which will help you confirm that you are on a trusted website.

The problem is that many hackers will create a website that looks like the real deal. The only way that you will be able to tell that it is not the real site is in the web address. Avoid all links that you are sent in emails (to protect yourself from phishing scams) and be careful with any links that you find online. Only give your credit card details when you are certain that it is a trusted company and website.

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