Almost half of adults plan to buy their Christmas gifts online, leaving them open to cyber-criminals keen to take advantage of a rush for bargains.
It's not small change either. With the Black Friday and Cyber Monday upon us (OK, so they seem to have been running for weeks already), fraudsters are expected to steal almost £19 million this weekend.
See also: What to look out for when shopping online
See also: The best deals online and instore for Black Friday 2016
Already this year 4.5million people have been forced to cancel debit and credit cards after online fraud, according to research by Comparethemarket.com. The average stolen in each case was £475.
So how do you make sure you're not going to get scammed in the sales and keep #XmasReady?
Here are four ways you can shop online and reduce the risk of having your money or personal information stolen.
Use a credit card or PayPal
If something costs more than £100, paying by credit card gives you some extra protection if the goods fail to show up. This is down to something called Section 75 – part of the Consumer Credit Act – which means the credit card company has to refund you if the initial retailer isn't legit or goes bust.
For cheaper items, you might be able to claim with Chargeback, though there is no guarantee you'll get the money back.
If you're on eBay, it's wise to use PayPal. Though you don't get Section 75 protection, it does mean you don't share your bank or card details, and it does come with its own buyer protection.
Pay attention to your browser
In your internet browser address bar, the most secure websites will start with HTTPS. The S stands for "Secure". A normal HTTP address doesn't have the same protection of your details.
Look for the padlock symbol too, which will also be in your browser – not on the webpage itself. The address bar also turns green on some browsers.
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Only shop with retailers you've used before or know already
It's not that difficult for scammers to create a site which looks professional. All they need to do is tempt you in with an offer that seems too good to be true and you're ready to part with your cash to nab the bargain.
Stick to shops you know are safe and you'll be able to avoid this risk.
Don't click through from emails
You're no doubt getting more and more emails about the Christmas sales; probably more than you have time to read!
If one does stand out, don't click through from the email as there's a chance it's a fake email. Instead type the shop's web address into your search bar, or go via Google.
This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.