Consumers using online shopping have been amazed to learn that cyber crime now affects more people per hour than the number of babies born!

With 50,000 people being affected by cyber crime somehow every hour, the figure is around 3 times the 15,300 babies which are born every hour.

This is a very scary statistic and it is one to keep in mind over the holiday period when cyber crime rates are at their highest. As more and more consumers make use of computers, iPads and mobile phones to purchase gifts for friends and family, thieves are on the alert for ways to hack into systems and snatch email addresses, passwords, credit card numbers and Paypal information.

A recent survey by Verizon found that around 80% of American retailers are not yet compliant with Payment Card Industry regulations with regard to security. This means that consumers are being left particularly vulnerable to theft while online shopping.

According to the FTC, a large number of scams and thefts occur during the Christmas shopping rush. However they have issues a list of 10 tips to help consumers fend off criminals this Christmas – and of course throughout the year!

  1. Use credit cards rather than debit cards as they offer more liability cover.
  2. Use only one credit card for online shopping, preferably a prepaid card or a “virtual card number.”
  3. Secure your mobile phone if you use it for shopping. This involves backing up regularly and also enabling data encryption and antivirus features.
  4. Never reveal private financial data over shared wireless networks such as in coffee shops.
  5. Never give out credit card data over the phone unless you initiate the transaction and trust the retailer.
  6. Never link your bank account to online services such as Paypal as it is easy for hackers to break into these accounts and drain your bank account.
  7. Ensure your computer has the latest browser, antivirus and firewall protection installed and update it regularly.
  8. Be aware of phishing email scams which usually include links to fake deals on sites which harvest your personal details.
  9. Only use sites with secure checkout and leave suspicious sites immediately.
  10. Check bank and credit card statements frequently for unrecognized transactions.

If you keep this advice in mind you will reduce the chances of falling victim to cyber crime. Credit card fraud is something no-one wants to deal with but it can be especially inconvenient at this time of year while making online shopping.