Sophos Helps Consumers Avoid Phishing Scams When Shopping Online

Holiday season is a busy time for cybercriminals just as it is for online shoppers, so how can you avoid phishing scams when shopping online this festive season?

Sophos has recently offers tips for consumers to help them avoid phishing scams when shopping online, highlighting some of the common tactics used by scammers, and how to recognize phishing websites and scam emails.

One of the most common ways that scammers fool victims is with amazing offers.  Sure, there are legitimate Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals to be had, but retailers will only go so far with discounts. If a website is offering an amazing deal that sounds too good to be true, it is probably a scam. Receive such an offer by email and it almost certainly is. Visit the vendors website to check, but don’t use the link in the email.

Smartphones are a great way to stay connected, and ideal for checking online shopping bargains, but exercise caution before parting with your credit card details. Only do that on a trusted WiFi network and never use a debit card online unless it is unavoidable. If you are scammed it is hard to get your money back.

Sophos raises awareness of a tactic called cybersquatting – The use of domain names that differ from the legitimate domain by a single letter. Make sure you check the URL carefully and ensure the domain is correct.

Passwords will ensure your accounts cannot be accessed by criminals, but be sure to choose strong passwords that cannot easily be guessed. Use symbols, upper and lower-case letters, and at least one number.

Exercise extreme caution with hyperlinks sent via email. Hover your mouse arrow over the link to find out the real URL. Phishers are now increasingly using SSL certificates to add legitimacy to websites. Just because the website starts with HTTPS and has a green padlock does not mean the website is legitimate. It only means that the connection between your browser and the website is encrypted. The website may be owned by a scammer.

Take these Sophos tips on board and you will be able to avoid phishing scams when shopping online this holiday season.

Author: Richard Anderson

Richard Anderson is the Editor-in-Chief of