How to shop safely online during Cyber Monday
During Black Friday and Cyber Monday, online shoppers are given chance to steal some great deals. A fancy 4K television for 40% off, 25% off of a brand-new pair of shoes, half price on a snazzy electric toothbrush that promises to give you a smile whiter than the snow around Santa’s grotto – the deals are limitless, and it is totally okay to feel excited.
While it is perfectly fine to feel excited about the fantastic deals (as we here at Nouveau are) it is still extremely important to stay safe online during the sales. With the increase in internet traffic with millions of people shopping online, many malicious sites seek to scam you by hiding in the midst of all these fantastic deals.
Luckily for you, we’ve got your back. Below, you can find some of our top tips for staying safe online during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
If it’s “too good to be true”, it probably is (sorry about that!)
During Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you will be able to find hundreds of great, legitimate deals offered by trusted online retailers. Although this is true, you will also find yourself stumbling across some horrible scams from cybercriminals that intend to steal your money and/or your personal data. As shoppers search and compare prices to find the lowest of the low, unfortunately a different type of “the lowest of the low” are out to prey on bargain hunters. Watch out for fake sites, emails, text messages and browser pop-ups advertising deals your eyes can barely believe. 90% off a brand new Xbox One or PS4 is most likely an elaborate ruse to empty your pocket without providing the goods. If something looks suspicious – don’t even click the link or open any attachments. Malware and viruses may also be hidden in these evil emails and adverts.
Verify the links you click (or don’t click)
Within seconds you could go from thinking you have found yourself a great deal to being in a bucket load of trouble due to a cyberattack. On many occasions, all it takes to become infected by malware is to click on the wrong link. Be sure to look at the link for valid SSL certifications (https://) and make sure there aren’t any extensions such as “.cc” on otherwise trusted domains. Use your wits before clicking on anything.
Use unique passwords on each site
By using unique passwords on each site, you are ensuring that if one site is dodgy, you are not giving your details away to someone who intends to use it maliciously. If you use the same password for every site, then one slight hiccup could mean that a hacker has your password to every site on the internet, and that can lead to a whole load of problems. They could access your personal accounts and use your cards to buy things for themselves and could even access your bank accounts.
If possible, use a credit card
Debit cards offer much less protection than credit cards. If you get scammed on your debit card, it will be much harder to get your money back. When shopping online, try and use your credit card as often as possible, but just be sure to pay it off as soon as you can!
Use trusted retailers and vendors
Shop on sites you know you can trust, like Amazon or John Lewis, for example. By doing this, you are hugely reducing your chances of being scammed online. Furthermore, if a site looks suspicious, or you have never used it, search online for reviews of the site before you buy or sign up to anything. If you can not find any reviews, don’t use it: if the reviews are bad – definitely do not use it.
Secure computer and a secure connection
If your computer isn’t protected by antivirus software, it is much more likely to be compromised by malware. If there is no protection, your data on the computer or phone is at risk of being stolen, including all forms your personal information and credit card numbers. Ensure that your software is up to date, including your operating system, as the latest versions have the most secure security patches.
Using a secure connection is just as important, as data is heavily at risk if an attacker has control over the network you are connected to. Be sure to keep an eye out for that SSL certificate we mentioned earlier, you can identify this by looking for the HTTPS padlock in the top left of your search bar.