Cyber Monday 2013: Police issue top 10 tips to avoid online fraud

The Metropolitan Police warned of 'cyber criminals and online fraudsters' during the Christmas period

With this year’s Cyber Monday set to be one of the busiest days in history for online shopping, today is also expected to offer a wealth of opportunities to criminals seeking to defraud unsuspecting internet users.

The Metropolitan Police has therefore urged shoppers to exercise caution while surfing the web for Christmas gifts, and commissioned its new Cyber Crime Unit to put together a list of its top 10 tips for staying safe.

Cyber Monday: UK braces for potentially busiest day in online shopping history

Detective Chief Inspector Jason Tunn said: “These are simple tips to keep safe while you shop online for your gifts for friends and family.

“The last thing anyone needs is for their details to be compromised by cyber criminals and online fraudsters - especially during the Christmas period.

“Hopefully these safeguards are easy to follow and can be implemented even by those with limited computer skills.”

1. Install protection on your computer with anti-virus or full security suite products.

2. Make sure you regularly update your operating system to minimise your system vulnerabilities

3. Secure your network and use this to shop online. Do not use someone else's as it may not be secure

4. Do not click on links sent out by unsolicited spam or phishing emails. Go direct to the website URL.

5. Let your system browser help you stay safe. Enable your browser phishing and malware protection filters

6. Use a credit card instead of a debit card. Credit cards may offer increased protection

7. Always look for the website URL to be shown as HTTPS and look for the padlock icon. Banking data sent over unsecured websites may be vulnerable to online thieves

8. Look at customer reviews for websites if you are not sure on using the site

9. If a deal sounds too good to be true - it probably is. Be wary of receiving unsolicited mail asking them to visit sites for cheap deals on hard-to-get items

10. If you are still in doubt, consider alternative payment methods such as PayPal, gift cards or pre-paid credit cards