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Look out for cyber grinches this Christmas

Updated: Oct 26, 2023

While it is always important to keep your gmail account/s secure, it is suggested that you become extra vigilant over the festive season.

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It’s been suggested that scams could rise by up to 80 per cent during this time, especially as more people decide to shop online. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to keep your account protected.

Change your password

Weak passwords are often an easy way to get in. Mixing up passwords with higher case letters, numbers and symbols reduces the risk of someone being able to easily guess your password and get into your account.

Two factor authentication

The problem with password authentication is that if someone finds out your password they could access your account (and more if you use the same password for other accounts). Two factor authentication (such as via a text or phone call) is a lot harder for a scammer to impersonate if they don’t have their target’s phone.

Regularly install updates

People often make the mistake of assuming hackers and cybercriminals focus on larger websites and businesses. This is not true for a couple of reasons - the first is that they will go for smaller businesses and sites if the opportunity presents itself. Another reason is that they can use this as a potential gateway for larger sites.

You can reduce the risk of this happening by installing updates on a regular basis to make your account as safe as possible.

Watch out for the signs

Sometimes a scam can look very realistic. It may appear to be from bigger corporates such as Amazon or Paypal. However, if you see typos in the message or unusual usernames then it is likely to be fake communication. Another example is a bank - a bank will never ask for your password or PIN number in an email. If you are unsure, contact the businesses or financial institution directly rather than any contact or link included in the email you receive.

If it’s too good to be true, it probably is...

Christmas can be an expensive time, so it can be tempting if you see a bargain offers. But it is important to take a step back - if the price seems ridiculously cheap, then it is highly unlikely that it will be a genuine offer. When ordering online, stick with trusted retailers or check the feedback and reviews on sellers.

Unfortunately there are also some that impersonate charities. If you want to donate to a charity then it is better to contact the organisations in question.

Not just for Christmas

All of these security measures are important throughout the year. By staying alert and putting in relevant protections you can reduce the risk of your account being hacked and help you stay safe online.

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