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Criminals work over Christmas

Online shopping may be convenient, but some people are still concerned about how well protected their online payments are. For good reason; about one in three, 32pc have had financial credentials compromised, and a survey by the IT security product company Kaspersky Lab found that a quarter (26pc) of them never got their money back.

Factors that can potentially put people’s finances at risk include the difficulty in controlling payment credentials’ after they have been used on e-commerce platforms and the variety of payment methods available.

Online shopping is like visiting a giant mall where people can buy items from dozens of different e-commerce platforms. It is no surprise that shoppers may struggle to keep all of their online payment information under control. More than half of people (54pc) are most worried about their financial credentials being accessed by cybercriminals. However, a third (36pc) of respondents have forgotten or not even tried to remember the websites and apps where they have shared their financial details.

As consumers try to ensure their payment credentials are easy to find and remember, one in five (20pc) even prefer to store them on devices. This can make submitting credentials more convenient when people do their shopping online, so they do not have to worry about forgetting them. However, if the device is lost or stolen, a user is at risk of not only losing their personal data but also their money, the cyber firm says, because someone could access their bank account if they found the respective credentials in the smartphone’s notes.

The wide range of digital payment methods gives shoppers the freedom to choose their favourite way of buying goods or services. The most preferable method is still debit and credit cards, direct transfers from bank accounts and e-wallets, such as PayPal. However, other payment methods are growing in popularity. Frequent shopping allows people to collect points via loyalty programmes and use them when revisiting a retailer to buy more. And thanks to smartphones and smartwatches, consumers don’t even need to carry around their wallet, physical money or even plastic cards. This has helped to raise the popularity of contactless device payments, such as PayPass and Apple Pay, with a third of shoppers (31pc) using them regularly.

David Emm, Principal Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab, said: “The Christmas period should be a time for people to celebrate and share gifts with their loved ones. Unfortunately, while their guard is down, cybercriminals remain hard at work to defraud them of their money. We should all remain attentive to our financial data and online payments, no matter the season. People can do this by taking care to avoid using their bank card credentials on untrusted web sites or making payments from unsecured devices.”


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