With Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals running all weekend, many shoppers will avoid the queues by doing some discounted holiday shopping online. To make sure you don’t feel blue this Black Friday, here are some tips to avoid cyber scams:
1. Only shop on secure, trusted sites:
People often make copies of websites during big sales like Black Friday or Cyber Monday. The website may look almost exactly like the real one, but there may be small differences, like pixelated images or functions that don’t work correctly.
- Check to make sure a website is safe and secure before you put any information into it. You can do this by putting your mouse pointer over the URL and making sure the web address is correct.
- Instead of clicking on a link in an email or on social media to get to an online store, use your web browser.
- Read what other people have to say about a store by looking at the comments on their social media pages.
2. Keep your cyber security software up to date:
Before you start shopping, make sure that all of your security software is up to date. Cybercriminals can get into your computer through security holes in older, out-of-date systems.
3. Look at your bank statements to find signs of fraudulent activity:
It’s always a good idea to keep a close eye on your bank statements and make sure your account can send you alerts right away if there are any strange transactions.
4. Use a protected payment method:
- When you’re about to do a transaction on a website, the URL (address) should always start with “HTTPS” and have a closed padlock icon in the address window.
- This means that the communication between your device and the shopping site is encrypted (unable to be easily intercepted or read).
- Think twice before saving your credit card information and other personal information on your online store accounts. If the company is hacked, cybercriminals could get your information.
5. Beware of phishing:
Always be on the lookout for suspicious emails and SMS messages, such as fake parcel delivery notifications or too-good-to-be-true offers encouraging you to act quickly or risk missing out. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
6. Limit your use of public Wi-Fi activity:
Cybercriminals lurk on public networks to watch what you do or even set up fake hotspots for you to connect to. If you want to shop or bank online, you should never use public Wi-Fi.
7. Lock down your accounts and use strong passwords:
- Make sure you use strong, unique passwords when you sign up for accounts at online stores.
- Don’t use the same password for your online banking, email, or social media sites.
- Some online stores may also offer two-factor authentication as a way to protect your account. This requires something other than a password and username, like a unique verification code sent to you through a different method, in addition to a password and username.