5 tips on staying safe from hackers and avoiding scams on Cyber Monday


Cyber Monday is a prime day for hackers and scammers to find victims (Image: Shutterstock)
Cyber Monday is a prime day for hackers and scammers to find victims (Image: Shutterstock)

Cyber Monday, a day that didn't even exist two decades ago, is now one of the biggest shopping days of the year. On Monday 28 November this year countless people will be scouring the internet to find bargains across tech and all sorts of Christmas presents.


But there are some risks (other than a seriously depleted bank balance) that you should be aware of. Busy shopping days like Cyber Monday are the perfect opportunity for scammers, dodgy dealers and hackers to take advantage of you. Here are some of the key things to look out for and ways to stay safe.


Stick to major retailers


It sounds obvious, but by shopping at larger stores you are far less likely to become the victim of a scam or have your details stolen. Larger commercial businesses spend huge amounts of money making sure their sites aren’t susceptible to hackers or other nefarious actors, and while that doesn’t mean it’s impossible for your data to be compromised using them, the risk is far smaller.


Shopping small? Do your research


You don’t need to avoid small retailers altogether. After all, smaller shops can have the best bargains! Just be sure to check their Trustpilot scores before shopping with them and read the reviews.


The first thing you should look for is any negative reviews mentioning scams or customers’ personal data being stolen. The second thing to key an eye out for is suspicious reviews. Does the online shop you’re looking at have dozens of reviews posted on the same day using similar language? They might have been posted by the shop itself to cover up negative reviews.


Don’t use a public Wi-Fi


It’s tempting to get some shopping in while waiting for a train or sitting in a café, but using a public Wi-Fi leaves you far more susceptible to hackers, particularly if you’re entering your card details. Save the purchasing for when you’re at home or use your data.


Use a credit card over a debit card


Credit cards give you extra protection when using them that you might not get with a debit card. Using your debit card gives potential hackers access to your bank account, meaning they could drain your savings if you’re unlucky. Using a credit card adds an extra barrier between any possible hackers or scam sales.


Credit card companies will usually also be able to cancel any fraudulent transactions, saving you from losing your money.


Check your statements regularly


No one can be blamed for going a bit trigger happy with the shopping over Cyber Monday, Black Friday and the run up to Christmas. But this means scammers and hackers can easily sneak a fraudulent transaction onto your card without you noticing.


Be sure to check your statements regularly so you can spot any transactions you didn’t make and report them to your bank – someone else might be using your card details.

Remember, the advice offered in this article is given in good faith, however we can’t guarantee it will protect you from all scams or hackers. If you believe you have fallen victim to a scam or had your details stolen, you should contact your bank and report it to www.actionfraud.police.uk.