POLICE are offering internet Christmas shoppers valuable advice on avoiding online fraudsters ahead of Cyber Monday tomorrow (Dec 2).

Traditionally one of the busiest days of the year for online shopping, the Met's new Cyber Crime Unit have put together a handy check-list for shoppers.

Cyber crime and other types of fraud cost the UK economy £81billion in the 2012/13 financial year.  

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said: "The worldwide web has provided consumers with an unprecedented opportunity to empty their wallets.

"The unpalatable truth, however, is that as ever greater numbers of us have moved online to conduct our shopping, banking and an array of other financial activities, so fraudsters have identified an opportunity to empty people's wallets for them."

DCI Jason Tunn of the Met's Cyber Crime Unit added: "These are simple tips to keep safe while you shop online for your gifts for friends and family.

"The last thing anyone needs is for their details to be compromised by cyber criminals and online fraudsters - especially during the Christmas period.

"Hopefully these safeguards are easy to follow and can be implemented even by those with limited computer skills."

Top Tips for busiest internet shopping day of the year

1. Install protection on your computer with Anti Virus or full security suite products

2. Stay up to date - make sure you regularly patch your operating system to minimise your system vulnerabilities

3. Secure your network and use this to shop online. Dont use someone else's as it may not be secure

4. Don't click into links sent out by unsolicited spam or phishing emails - Go direct to the website URL

5. Let your system browser help you stay safe - Enable your browser phishing and malware protection filters

6. Use a credit card instead of a debit card - Credit cards may offer increased protection

7. Always look for the website URL to be shown as HTTPS and look for the padlock icon - Banking data sent over unsecured websites may be vulnerable to online thieves

8. Look at customer reviews for websites if you're not sure on using the site

9. If a deal sounds too good to be true, - it probably is. Consumers are urged to be wary of receiving unsolicited mail asking them to visit sites for cheap deals on hard to get items. These may contain links designed to compromise your computer and steal your credentials

10. If you're still in doubt, consider alternative payment methods such as PayPal, Gift Cards or Pre-Paid credit cards