Shop Safely Online This Christmas: The Ultimate Guide

Business Insights

Gone are the days where Christmas shopping meant trailing around stuffy, crowded shopping centres, and standing in queues a mile long…

Now, it can all be done online at the click of a button. But with that comes a whole host of potential cyber security issues. As the latest figures from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) reveal that victims of cyber shopping scams lost an average of £1000 each in 2021, it seems that Christmas really is The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year for cybercriminals.

To protect yourself, your business and your workforce from cyber-grinches this Christmas, share this blog with your network for top tips on how to be cyber-aware and stay cyber-secure.

5 tips to staying cyber-safe this Christmas

    1. Don't go ‘phishing'

Watch out for phishing emails. Cyber-crooks will try anything to get your attention, so, before clicking any links, always take a closer look.

Phishers are notorious for impersonating organisations you interact with every day. In the lead up to Christmas, we order multiple items online to be delivered to our door, and if we're not in, the courier will often email to let us know about their failed delivery attempt.

Going one step further, cyber-criminals are known for sending emails including fake links, notifying shoppers that there's a fee to pay before their item can be delivered. You know what happens next… ALWAYS CHECK THE SENDER'S EMAIL! If it's from (or similar), DELETE.

    2. Don't be fooled by social media scams

It's that time of year when we head to social media selling sites like Facebook Marketplace to snap up some serious pre-Christmas discounts. Warning: if it feels too good to be true, it probably is.

Cyber-crooks are notorious for creating fake listings and duping buyers into making direct bank transfers, leaving them with zero protection. Some even go as far as sending fake tracking information to make the buyer feel ‘safe' – and before they know it – they've lost their money, and handed over their personal information.

Before buying anything from a private seller on social media, check their profile. Three friends and no profile picture? RUN. A. MILE.

    3. Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is your best friend

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a powerful cyber-safety tool that boosts your online security by adding an extra layer of protection beyond just a password. Even if a cyber-criminal gets hold of your password, if you have two-factor authentication in place, they can't access your account without that second factor.

The second factor will be something only you have; like a temporary code sent to your device or facial/fingerprint recognition. Take THAT, cyber-nuisance!

    4. Give public Wi-Fi a miss

It's tempting to do that last bit of online Christmas shopping whilst killing time – in an airport, for example.

But, using public Wi-Fi leaves you wide open to a cyber-attack. When you connect to an unsecured network, hackers prey on this vulnerability by swooping in and stealing your sensitive information, or by installing malware without you even knowing.

In a Forbes Advisor Survey, 40% of respondents reported that their information was compromised while using public Wi-Fi.

Key takeaway: don't take the risk – go and buy a Toblerone instead.

    5. Never save your card details online

When shopping with the same retailers regularly, it's tempting to save your card details for next time. Who doesn't want to save a few minutes?

But, imagine if your card details are saved and a data breach happens. Your financial information could end up in the wrong hands, opening you up to unauthorised transactions, identity theft, and financial loss.

If you can't be bothered to enter your details manually each time you shop, use a secure payment method like Paypal or Apple Pay for ultimate protection.

The tools to shop safely online this Christmas

If you follow these five tips on how to stay cyber-safe whilst shopping online this Christmas, you should be able to dodge any unwanted gifts from those nasty Cyber-Grinches.

If you're a business owner with a niggling feeling that your current information security policies won't pack a punch when it comes to data breeches or cyberattacks – give yourself the gift of complete cyber-security this year, with ISO 27001 certification.

Eat, drink and be cyber-safe!


Stuart Barker | Stuart is a cyber security expert known as the ISO 27001 Ninja, and author of the best-selling ISO 27001 Toolkit. He is Director at High Table, the ISO 27001 Company: