With lockdown driving Brits to do more online shopping than ever before (and with the January sales looming large), retailers are anticipating a bumper few months ahead. Unfortunately, so too are cybercriminals, able to profit out of people’s unfamiliarity with online shopping safety measures.

If you plan on buying anything online, be sure to read our tips beforehand, to better protect yourself against the crooks.

1. Use a different password for your email account as your store accounts

Though many of us know that re-using passwords across multiple sites is ill-advised, it can be all too easy to rely on a handful of logins so you don’t need to remember countless different ones. However, if there’s one account to make absolutely sure is different, it’s your email. Any hacker that’s able to access your inbox will effectively get a master key to all your other accounts. Furthermore, if they get in and then change the password, it can be very difficult indeed for you to reclaim access.

2. Use built-in password protection solutions

To combat password re-use, browsers such as Chrome have long been able to store a user’s login credentials safely and securely. This enables you to use different passwords for each account, and not have to remember a single one. The browsers can also suggest strong passwords that are harder to crack, as they contain a scramble of letters, numbers and special characters, as opposed to names or sports teams. Just remember, as above, to keep your browser login safe and different from others, as this too could give hackers the keys to every single account you have if they get in.

3. Use two-factor authentication

A growing number of businesses are insisting on two-factor authentication for their customers. In short, this involves submitting a mobile number (or sometimes alternate email address) on which to receive a one-time access code whenever you log in. This simple step means that any would-be hackers don’t just need your password – which may be relatively easy to get – but also your mobile phone – which would be much harder.

These are just three simple ways of protecting yourself against hackers when shopping online – and with statistics from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau showing that the average victim of shopping fraud lost £775 over the last Christmas period alone, it’s advice well worth following.