The festive period can be an exciting time of year for many of us. However, due to the increase in online activity individuals, businesses and organisations can become more vulnerable to online security breaches.
It is really important that we are all extra vigilant to help protect private and sensitive data. To help you, we’ve listed some of the more common festive scams along with top tips on how you can stay safe and secure online.
Tip 1 - shop online via websites you trust
When you're shopping online make sure you protect your sensitive data by:
- Only shopping on websites you know and trust
- Looking for the “https” prefix at the beginning of the URL which means the site is secure
- Declining to save your bank credentials on your favourite shopping sites
- If a website displays a certificate error, go elsewhere.
Tip 2 - Be wary of missed parcel delivery scams
The number of parcels being sent significantly increases at this time of year. Cybercriminals exploit this by creating delivery scams. These scams are usually sent via email or text and refer to a missed parcel delivery. If you receive a message like this consider the following:
- Are you expecting a parcel? Even if you are, be cautious
- If you’re concerned contact the delivery company or the retailer directly, through their official website, to check the status of the delivery
- Don’t click on the links provided in any suspicious emails or text messages
- Don’t give out your personal information or debit/credit card details
- Remember, it's highly unusual for deliveries to be withheld due to improper payment.
Tip 3 - Check your bank statements regularly
As our online financial transactions increase during the festive season, it’s important to check bank statements for any irregularities. Noticing any suspicious transactions on your bank account could be the first indication that your account has been compromised. If you see something suspicious, contact your bank immediately via their official direct phone number.
Tip 4 - Don’t be fooled by offers that look too good to be true or are time critical
The likelihood is this will be a phishing email.
A phishing email is a scam which usually contains lucrative offers or eye-catching and attention-grabbing statements which urge you to act immediately or lose out. For example, many scam emails claim that you have won an iPhone, the lottery, or some other lavish prize.
Don't open these types of emails or click any links contained within them. This could lead to a virus being downloaded onto your computer or your passwords and personal information being stolen. The same logic also applies to items you see for sale on Facebook, or other online marketplaces.
Remember - if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Tip 5 – Take five
As well as increased scams during the festive period, scams can often be created that specifically target university students. These can be online, via social media, email, phone or text, or even someone knocking on your door.
It is important that you remain vigilant and #TakeFive if you are ever contacted, and someone is asking you to act urgently, particularly if it claims to be from your bank. Follow the #TakeFive advice below and watch this video to help reduce your risk of falling victim to fraud and scam:
- Stop: Think before parting with your money or information
- Challenge: Could it be fake?
- Protect: If you think you’ve fallen for a scam contact your bank immediately.
If you think you may be affected by a scam or have any queries or concerns, you can contact IT Services on 01202 965515 (freephone 0808 196 2332), or contact AskBU for further guidance and support.
For more information about being protecting yourself from scams, including managing passwords, securing your device or reporting problems, visit our IT security - stay safe online pages or our scams and fraud financial advice webpages.