Black Friday and Cyber Monday usually signal the start of the holiday shopping frenzy, but global supply chain issues are motivating people to shop early.
But whether you are already looking for online deals or you are a last minute shopper, the cyber grinches will be ready for you. How can you protect yourself from their scams?
- Know how to tell the difference between a real or fake online store.
- Know and use common sense cyber best practices.
Just in time for the holidays, here are 12 tips to secure cyber shopping.
Know how to tell the difference between a real or fake online store.
#1 Tip: Is the store selling at ridiculously low prices? If they are promoting something that sounds too good to be true, it is likely a scam.
#2 Tip: Is there a way to contact the seller in case you want to return an item? Fake shops don't have standard refund policies.
#3 Tip: Does the site have purchase records popping up, such as, "Mary Smith in Auburn just bought 10 gift sets." Reputable sites don't normally do this.
#4 Tip: Type the name of the store into your browser and see what others have said about it.
#5 Tip: Look carefully at the site domain. Hackers are good at imitating a legitimate site with a twist, such as changing www.amazon.com to www.amazonshoppers.com.
#6 Tip: Look for the lock icon in the browser bar and https. This is not fool-proof, but sites without it are not to be trusted.
#7 Tip: Does the shop accept credit cards? Legitimate sites do. Something is wrong if they only take payment in the form of electronic transfer, cryptocurrency, or prepaid card/gift card.
#8 Tip: Be careful with third-party sellers, even on sites you trust. Purchase directly from the trusted site.
#9 Tip: A site with typos and wording that sounds odd is most likely a fake shop.
#10 Tip: A store that asks for detailed personal information is a red flag. No legitimate seller will ask for your social security number unless you are applying for a credit card. Even giving your birthdate can provide hackers with an advantage.
Know and use common sense cyber best practices.
#11 Tip: Use long, difficult-to-guess passwords. And use a different password for each site. Mix it up with uppercase, lowercase, numbers and special characters. Consider using a password manager to keep track of your passwords. Adding multi-factor authentication provides another layer of protection.
#12 Tip: Avoid shopping on public WiFi. Although convenient, it is never a good idea to browse on unsecured WiFi unless you also use a personal VPN.
Let these tips help you be a secure shopper this season. Beat the cyber grinches at their game and keep your holiday cheer!
Don't hesitate to contact us for more information, 530-751-5100.