Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and now Cyber Monday! It’s that time of year when it seems you can have it all. But let’s face it, as much this holiday season is about spending quality time with family, it’s no less about spending money. While Black Friday might make you reconsider if all the sales are worth all the madness, Cyber Monday will get you excited. And according to National Retail Federation, you are not alone, more precisely one in 121 million.
What could be better than getting the best out of online deals? You can curl up in a blanket and start your online quest for all the things you’ve ever wanted. No lines, no yelling people. And here comes the ever-present “but” in everything that seems too good to be true. You are not the only one who’s impatient about Cyber Monday. Meet your enemies: hackers. Carefully planned traps await you in the online world and are ready to turn your holidays into a headache. So, here are your five handy tips for avoiding online shopping fraud.
Chances are small hackers will be able to attack reputable sites. Don’t get overexcited by the 70% sale that screams at you from the screen of your smartphone and always think twice before clicking. Here, the URL is your best friend. If the site has the “https:// and a padlock sign in the upper left corner, you can breathe with relief. The protocol is believed to keep safe your phone and credit card number which you will have to enter while shopping online. One more tip: don’t use search engines to find deals instead go directly to websites. So, watch your steps carefully and if the site fails to exhibit signs of safety, close it, immediately, no matter how cute and cheap everything is.
Don’t Use Public WiFi
This one is a big no-no. While public WiFi surely saved you on many occasions, on Cyber Monday it serves the cyber villains. This tip is one of the three warnings Homeland Security told online shoppers to watch out for. And if Homeland Security says, you listen. Your personal, password protected WiFi is the safest option to make transactions. You don’t want your personal data or money stolen, so stay home and true to your WiFi.
Your Antivirus is Your Hero
Proper internet security software is always a must, but you might need it on Cyber Monday like no other day. Check if everything is installed and up to date. Besides your anti-malware program, you might also want to install an ad-blocker. Many Cyber Monday traps will come from malware waiting for you to give away your payment information carelessly. But how can they fool you if you know how to secure your devices? Congrats, you are one step closer to safe online shopping, let’s see what else you need to do.
Don’t Trust Cyber Monday Emails
Just don’t. Especially those with attachments as they have a higher chance of containing malware. And to avoid further temptation delete them right away. Remember, not all the infected emails will look suspicious, on the opposite, it’s hackers’ job to carefully mask their tricks and make them as appealing as possible. So, what to do if you received an email claiming a store you know has a good deal? Firstly, don’t click the link. Secondly, type the URL of the store directly into your browser. Third, search for any confirmation of the deal on the site. If there is none, hacker’s plan failed, and if there is happy shopping!
Hackers Love eBay
And so do you. But it’s going to be full of scams. Remember what we’ve told you earlier? Think twice! But what to do if the only thing you can think is how good those jeans are? Okay, okay, click on them. But your next step shouldn’t be putting them in the cart but checking the reputation of the seller. Pay attention both to the rating and the history, especially how well and recently they were reviewed.
Now, that you know and follow all of the tips, you are prepared for the worst. So, keep calm and go online shopping. Good luck!