Online shopping and cybercrime: don’t let crooks ruin your Black Friday

The big day of discount shopping, Black Friday, can be a boom time for online retailers and bargain hunters, especially with the increase in online shopping during the pandemic. At the same time, however, lurking on the web are hackers and rogue employees looking to ruin your pre-Christmas shopping spree. A lawyer specializing in commercial litigation and cybercrime expert, Oliver Smith focuses on the fight against the festive attack of online fraud.

The pre-Christmas shopping season is the giveaway that continues to be given to cybercriminals who thrive on popular promotional dates such as Black Friday, Cyber ​​Monday, and the January sale season. Police say last Christmas there were over 28,000 reports of online shopping fraud, with an average loss of over £ 500. In Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday alone, shoppers lost over £ 2.5million due to fraud. The increased use of technology has made companies more vulnerable to the theft of large volumes of valuable data such as customer email addresses or other sensitive information such as profit margins or passwords. The number of passwords consumers now need to remember means they often use the same or similar passwords for many of their accounts. When one account is compromised, it can leave other accounts vulnerable.

However, there are technical and legal solutions available to the discerning online retailer and shopper. Many big tech companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Google offer encrypted password apps that will remember or create a number of complex and different passwords for all of your online accounts. The best part is that you only need to remember one password to use it. Alternatively, you can save your passwords on your internet browser and they will automatically enter them for you, but you need to make sure that access to your computer is password protected. Some websites offer two-factor authentication, where they send you a new code via text message to enter each time you log in. At the same time, there is plenty of software for businesses that helps them control and protect their data. This is especially important because, under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), companies responsible for data breaches can receive hefty fines based on a percentage of their annual turnover.

As a last resort, companies may have to seek court assistance by seeking an interim emergency injunction to prevent a dishonest employee from using stolen data or selling it to a competitor. In extreme cases, a judge may even authorize lawyers, under the supervision of another independent lawyer, to conduct an unannounced search of the former employee’s home, new office or computers in order to find and preserve evidence. wrongdoing.

But what about consumers?

Buyers who are concerned that a data breach has affected them or that they are victims of online fraud can contact the Office of the Information Commissioner online for help securing their data or seeking compensation. If the case is of high value or urgent, an intellectual property lawyer should be consulted.


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