Protect Your Privacy and Financial Information

The holiday shopping season really gets under way when Black Friday deals begin, but deals are now launching earlier and earlier during the month of November. The deals typically extend through Cyber Monday, which this year is November 29. Brace yourself, online shoppers – scammers are coming. 

Instead of rushing to the malls like we used to do, shoppers today rush to their devices, jumping into the online shopping frenzy. Cybercriminals of all types anticipate this spike in online activity and develop their own phishing scams and deceptive schemes to capitalize off this time of year. Scams are everywhere you turn, from websites posing as real businesses to malicious emails pretending to be your package’s shipping info or a holiday card from a friend.  Especially now, there are more scams than ever before.

You can avoid all the havoc and hassle with these tips for a safer online shopping experience.

Tip #1: Always go ‘official’

Always type the URL yourself in the address bar so you know you are on the official page. You’ll also notice that most, if not all, official sites use https to ensure an encrypted connection between you and them.

Tip #2: Avoid phishing scams

Look at every holiday-themed and savings-themed email in your inbox with a suspicious eye, and never click on links inside them as they could link to an email phishing attempt. Instead, if you see something in an email that is enticing, follow tip #1 and type the URL into a web browser yourself.

Tip #3: Compare prices

Before you hit the digital checkout line, open a new tab and look up that same item in other stores to see if the price is similar. If you haven’t heard of the brand before, look up comparable products by leading brands to see if the prices are similar. If your item is drastically lower than the others, you need to wonder why. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Plus, you can always check review sites to see if the brand is decent.

Tip #4: Use an ad blocker

Ad blockers are browser extensions that block intrusive pop-ups, invasive trackers, and malicious ads. Using an adblocker will save you the extended loading time and the headache of being constantly inundated with ads, most reminding you of previous products you’ve viewed. You’ll be more focused, your pages will load faster and will avoid potential phishing ads.

Tip #5: Do not store payment info

As you visit site after site, and especially as you make purchase after purchase, you will be peppered with requests to start new accounts and save your credit card info. We strongly suggest you deny these requests, particularly during holiday shopping. You want to share, save, and store as little personal info as possible on the internet.

Tip #6: Give yourself a limit

Use a credit card with a credit limit. That way, if your payment details are compromised, the damage will be as limited as the card is. Designating a card specifically for holiday shopping will show if anything’s suspicious after a quick look at the card statement.

This shopping guide will make your holidays merry and bright by keeping your security robust and tight.  Get in touch with us today to learn how we can help you to get more out of your technology.

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