The Grinch Who Hacked Christmas
Every year, thieves ruin the festive period for thousands of families by stealing kid’s presents from under the tree. The Most Wonderful Time of the Year is the most prolific period for the UK’s crooks, who commit on average 448 burglaries, 65 robberies, and 1,082 thefts every year.
The good news is that this year, with the lockdown ongoing and homes being left empty less often, the UK has seen a 72 per cent fall in reported domestic burglaries – a trend likely to continue over the Christmas period and make this year’s the least burgled in memory.
The bad news is that this respite from would-be Grinches doesn’t mean UK families can sleep easy: criminals are still after their hard-earned money online. Cybercrime and fraud are up 65 per cent this year, representing more than 50 per cent of all UK crime for the first time.
Bearing this massive spike in Christmas cybercrime in mind, Mike Roberts, MD of LegalShield is offering his five top tips on staying safe this year, to help ensure only Santa Claus – and not St Nick your stuff – are welcome in your household:
1. Be cautious when using public WiFi networks
And avoid entirely if you’re using them to access online banking or using a site which requires you to input personal or financial information. Think, if you can use a publicly accessible WiFi with ease, then cyber criminals won’t have a problem seeing what you’ve used it for.
2. Only purchase from websites that have HTTPS in the site address
This displays a site’s SSL certificate and shows the validity of it. Without this SSL encryption, there’s no certainty that a website is legitimate. You can check this by clicking the padlock sign on any URL, and it’s simple: if there’s not an “s” on the end of the “http”, NEVER input personal or payment details.
3. Install the latest software and app updates
We’re all guilty of putting off software updates, but this is a really simple way to protect against cyber criminals. Software and app updates contain vital security information upgrades which safeguard your digital information. Save those docs and press update!
4. Stay wise – take your festive cheer glasses off
At this time of year, we are often wrapped up in the Christmas spirit and can get carried away with the act of giving. It’s important to stay wise to spam emails and large scale phishing from what appear to be trusted sources. If you’re ever unsure, check the email address and don’t click on any embedded links, even an “unsubscribe” link.
5. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is
We’ve all seen the Facebook posts which show free iPads, RayBan sunglasses and everything else that’s probably on your Christmas list. This is a luring technique from cyber criminals who create attractive looking deals on social media platforms, encouraging users to input personal details which are later used for fraudulent purposes.
LegalShield is the provider of PrivacyDefence which protects consumers from fraud. Through personal monitoring, financial monitoring and social media monitoring, PrivacyDefence will send alerts to your phone when personal data is detected, and if any breaches do occur, they will work with the consumer quickly to restore it.