Excited about the amazing Black Friday and Cyber Monday online deals ahead? So are cyber criminals equipped with sophisticated digital traps ready to snatch your money! The good news is that you have the power to protect your online shopping from cyber threats.
The holiday shopping season is a busy time for online shopping and online fraud. You need to keep alert for potential threats, like spam posing as campaigns from famous brands and fake emails claiming that an online retailer has sent out a purchase for delivery to you.
Every year, we see cyber extorters targeting online shoppers during the holiday season. They start with Black Friday and Cyber Monday in November and continue into the December season of Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa and more.
ZoneAlarm offers you seven hot tips to help you shop online safely.
- Buy Only from Reliable Retailers:
Think twice before purchasing from unfamiliar online sites, even if they offer tempting low prices. It’s worth paying a little more and buying from a reputable website that you know and trust. Your personal information may not be protected on questionable websites, that could also have hidden fees or falsely advertise products of lower quality. These sites could even be fraudulent. To ensure that you receive exactly what you expect at the price you want, confirm that the online store you’re visiting has a good reputation by checking customer review sites and social media channels first.
- Avoid Getting Phished; Don’t Click on Suspicious Emails:
Your inbox might be inundated with emails offering amazing deals, but watch out for phishing attempts. Hackers can create seemingly legitimate emails from what seems like a trusted company, together with corresponding webpages to make them look authentic. Phishing attempts are designed to steal your personal information, so stay hyperaware to protect yourself.
- Avoid Public Wi-Fi when Shopping Online:
If you enter private information such as credit card numbers while using public Wi-Fi, anyone on the network can access your information. So, it’s imperative to always use a secure network when shopping online. If you must use a public network, try using a VPN as an effective safeguard. Otherwise, wait until you get home and can enter personal details online using your own computer and network.
- Look for Security Symbols:
Make sure the URL of the website you’re shopping on begins with the letters HTTPS, indicating a secure connection where your information will be encrypted. Only you and the merchant can view your payment data on such sites. Also, look out for a padlock icon on the URL address bar’s upper-left corner, or for the words “Secure Sockets Layer” (SSL). Sites without these signs are not secure, and you shouldn’t enter any personal details on them.
- Use Credit, Not Debit Cards:
Debit cards directly access your bank account, so avoid using them online. If hackers uncover this information, they can access all your funds. Because credit card companies are legally obligated to protect customers from online fraud, you get enhanced security by using credit rather than debit cards. If you notice any suspicious activity, the credit card company is liable for fraudulent charges. Credit card companies also use sophisticated software to monitor your accounts and detect unusual customer behavior, blocking your card until they confirm that it was actually you making the purchase. Debit cards lack these security and protection measures, so avoid using them for online purchases.
- Keep Track of your Purchases:
Keep your receipt after making a purchase, especially when online shopping. Monitor your credit and banking statements regularly. If you notice a purchase that you didn’t make, contact your credit card company to resolve the issue.
- Protect and Prevent:
The security level of your computer directly determines the safety of your online transactions. To be completely secure when shopping online, your computer must be protected from malware, viruses and phishing.
Your computer needs the latest antivirus and firewall protection to make it safe from all online threats and identity fraud. ZoneAlarm, trusted by nearly 100 million users worldwide, is the best business-class protection for your home PC.
Remember these tips and you can enjoy a great shopping season!