Nine top tips for safe online christmas shopping from Sprout IT

We all do it, some of us even enjoy it – but, when we go Christmas present shopping, some of us get scammed. In the seasonal spirit of goodwill, here’s a Sprout tip list to keep you safe whilst you browse.

Updates and Anti-Virus

OK this is boring, I know! But don’t underestimate the value of a well patched computer, running up to date Anti-Virus. Patch your operating system (Windows/Mac) and, crucially, don’t forget the third party applications such as Java and Adobe – it’s these apps that are increasingly the target, for the bad guys.


Only purchase from websites that have https in the site address. You can check the validity of the site’s SSL Certificate by clicking on the padlock icon shown in your browser. NEVER given personal/payment details to a site that is not SSL encrypted.


Passwords are for life, not just for Christmas! Always use complex passwords, keeping them unique for each online account you have. For most of us that will be a lot to remember, so why not use a password manager tool such as LastPass.

Watch out for pop-ups and temporary apps

It’s a common trick to use the season of goodwill to encourage you to open/click/install adverts and applications that you would normally ignore. If you see an offer that is too good to be true, then it probably is – and it’s probably going to do something nasty to your computer.

Use a credit card

It’s always best to use a credit card, rather than a debit card (this is not financial advice!). Apart from the additional insurance, liability cover and fraud checks that a credit card will carry, it is not normally attached to your Current Account – so any breach, will not give direct access to your hard earned savings.


Phishing (emails purporting to be from reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers) is still the favourite and most successful item in the bad guy’s toolkit.You know the rules – don’t click on or respond to any email that you are not expecting or are suspicious of.

Don’t save personal details

Most sites will encourage you to ‘sign-up’ and save your address, telephone, email and payment details. Apart from being hounded for the next 12 months about their latest special offer, because you forgot to tick/untick/stand on your head, it also means that if (when) that site is compromised, so are your personal details.

Stay in front of the fire

If you fancy some online shopping, stay at home where you will be using your trusted PC (running up to date patches and Anti-Virus, naturally) and it’s warm and dry! But critically, you will be using your trusted network and WiFi rather than entering personal/payment info to a website, whilst connected to a public WiFi network. Most public WiFi is completely, well, public – very, very easy to eavesdrop and, even, to ‘move’ you onto a dummy network, specifically designed to steal your data.

Tell your friends and family

They’ll thank you (you probably still need to buy them a proper present, though!). 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 9 Top Tips for Safe Online Christmas Shopping We all do it, some of us even enjoy it – but, when we go Christmas present shopping, some of us get scammed. 

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