How to keep yourself safe online this Christmas season

christmas shoppingThe year-end presents a time when shopping goes on an all-time high. The shopping craze starts on Thanksgiving Day, and goes all through December, peaking at around Christmas day. In a survey conducted in the United States of America, 29% of the participants expressed plans to spend an average of $500 on gifts to celebrate Christmas. In the US alone, a total of 768,000 new workers are hired during December to cater for the increase in shopping.

The Growth of Online Shopping

With almost everyone owning a smartphone, shopping has changed a lot. Many people have come to adopt online shopping for its convenience. With online shopping, there are no queues to make, and no hopping from one store to another searching for items. You can compare prices when using the Internet to shop, and better still, find discounts and offers easily. A survey conducted in the US by Delloite indicated that half of the participants were planning to buy their holiday gifts online. They cited the convenience and the ease of comparing prices and offers.  But online shopping comes with its risks. Hackers can easily get at personal or bank information and use it to steal your money. Studies indicate that cybercrime peaks during the month of December when there’s a lot of online shopping. Hackers target shoppers in many ways like:

  • Setting up fake websites purporting to sell goods but only intended to steal credit card details
  • Sending phishing emails disguised as ads on offers
  • Selling counterfeits, or goods that are never delivered
  • Intercepting networks like WiFi that online shoppers might be using
  • Developing and distributing fake spy apps disguised as shopping apps but with intent to steal bank information
  • Circulating links that direct browsers to sites containing malware to steal personal information

With the ever-increasing risk of being a target of cybercriminals, it’s advisable to take measures to protect yourself.

How Can You Protect Yourself From Online Hackers When Shopping?

To stay safe, especially when buying gifts for your loved ones during this Christmas season, follow these tips.

Don’t open fishy email attachments
Hackers target shoppers by sending phishing emails disguised as bargains. Never open such attachments or links. Your details would be in danger of being accessed.

Use secure internet connections
Whether on a PC, tablet or smartphone, always ensure the connection is safe. WiFi is especially a risky connection to use because if it’s, most of the times, unprotected. Always secure your WiFi with a password. Avoid using public WiFi hotspots to do online shopping; you never know which hacker is on the connection, waiting for their prey.

Only buy from legitimate sites
Hackers can set up sites that mimic well-known sites. Always check the URL well to make sure its the legitimate site. Ensure the URL starts with HTTPS and not HTTP, the ‘s’ shows the site is secured. Your browser’s search window should also indicate a padlock that is closed; the padlock shows your connection to the site is safe.

Check your online transactions
Keep an eye on the transactions you make or have made, to make sure they’re the ones performed by you. By doing so, you can detect unusual activity early and take appropriate action.

Use secure payment methods
Avoid using just any method you come across to pay. Some are risky because they expose your financial and personal details. Paypal is one secure method to make payments; it doesn’t expose your credit card details as only your email is needed, plus their site is secure to log into for payments.

Use an anti-virus to protect your devices
Hackers often aim to install spyware in the devices shoppers use to access the internet. They come in the form of downloads. Once in your computer, the spyware gives the hacker access to your PC.

To protect your device from these malicious programs, you need to buy and install an antivirus. The antivirus needs to be a strong one, and from a reputable company. So you may be asking yourself:

How To Protect Personal Data?

One antivirus that would adequately protect your PC from spyware is the Norton Antivirus, by Symantec. It’s a strong antivirus that relieves you of worries when using your computer to shop online. It comes with other great features, too, apart from its protection capabilities. It’s easy to install and equally easy to use. Its cost is modest compared to the benefits it offers, and you can still get hold of Norton Antivirus coupons online, and obtain it at a much lower cost.

Norton Antivirus: Features, Price and Coupons
Norton antivirus shields your PC from malicious programs and warns you about downloads containing spyware. It includes tools that scour your computer’s disc to remove viruses that other antivirus programs would miss.
– It backs up important files automatically, so you don’t lose valuable data.
– It cleans up disc space to boost the performance of your computer.
– It uses IdentitySafe to store your passwords and usernames so no one can access them or steal them.

The Norton antivirus will show all devices that are connected to your network so you can easily identify suspicious connections and take appropriate actions to stop them.

Prices start from $49.99 for the Basic, $69.99 for the Security Standard, and $79.99 for the Security Deluxe. The company  has included a coupon code box at the check-out page where buyers can type a promo code to get a discount. You can look out for Norton antivirus coupons and get up to 40% discounts on the current prices. Qetes, for example, has published a list of Norton coupon codes which are updated frequently.


Have a story idea or a news tip? Email editor Chris Graham at [email protected] Subscribe to AFP podcasts on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPandora and YouTube.