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In light of recent global events, there is a heightened risk of cyber-attacks. We urge local organisations to exercise additional vigilance when monitoring IT infrastructure. Please report suspicious activity to us via our Cyber Concerns Reporting Tool.

1. Be wary of scam emails

Some scam emails can look very similar to real emails.

Check emails for common signs of a scam. Visit our Phishing guide at

Check email addresses against others you have received in the past.

Do not click website links or ‘buttons’ on unexpected emails from businesses.  Send any suspicious emails to

 2. Use Trusted Sellers

  • Use known or reputable websites, especially for sales events.

  • Research retailers that you are not familiar with and look for reviews about the company from reliable sources.

3. Use Strong Passwords

  • Create a strong password by using three memorable (but random) words.

  • Adding numbers and special characters to the password increases the password strength.

  • Use unique passwords for each of your important accounts such as for social media, email, banking and for websites storing banking details.

  • Try using a Password Manager app, where you can create and save your passwords securely.

4. Avoid websites that do not have good security

  • Check for "https://" in web addresses or a locked padlock symbol in your browser.

5. Use a guest account on websites

  • If you don't use a website often, consider buying things as a ‘guest’ rather than making an account.

  • Limit the personal information that you provide when buying items online.  This limits the information available to criminals if they successfully hack the Seller’s company.

6. Check your bank statement regularly

  • Be wary of a seller asking you to pay by bank transfer or outside of a website.

  • Payment services like PayPal or using credit cards offer additional protection.

7. Check your bank statement regularly

  • Contact your bank immediately if you do not recognise any transactions

8. Be careful with adverts on social media (e.g. Facebook)

  • Avoid clicking links on advertisements. Check reputable websites for reviews to check for the legitimacy of products and services.

  • If in doubt about the authenticity of a website, don't give any personal or financial information.

  • Schedule and run anti-virus scans regularly. If you think you may have visited a suspicious website, run a scan.

9. Check your receipts and payment documentation

  • Real companies will usually send you an order confirmation after making a purchase.

  • Keep your documents safe until you are happy with your purchase.

  • If the product you have ordered comes with a guarantee, keep the receipt, and submit any forms offering guarantees or free servicing.

10. Research products and businesses before you buy

  • There are many recognised review websites online and some merchants have their own feedback facility.

  • Keep an eye out for similar-looking language used in multiple reviews for the same business or product as this can be an indicator of a scam.

11. Secure your devices and apps

  • Make sure your devices have up-to-date anti-virus software installed and turned on. Both Apple and the latest Microsoft computers come with anti-virus pre-installed.

  • Your computers, devices and software will often notify you of updates. Don't ignore them, install them at the earliest opportunity.

12. Secure all devices that connect to the internet

  • Change default settings on your smart devices. Usernames and passwords should be changed if possible.
  • Keep an eye on available updates and security fixes from the manufacturer. Some devices won't automatically update.

  • If you decide to get rid of/sell your device, remember to perform a factory reset to return it to original settings and remove your data.

Downloadable documents

Cyber-Aware Christmas Top Tips Full Infographic (PDF)


This page was last updated on 20th December 2022