5 Ways to Shop Safely Online this Holiday Season

Tis the season for gift giving, which for busy people everywhere, means online shopping.  

Online shopping is so popular that American shoppers are predicted to spend a total of $929 billion during the Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday sales, according to market research company, eMarketer.  

More people online shopping presents a very tempting situation for cybercriminals. So much so, that Infosecurity magazine predicts that there will be an estimated 50 million global fraud attempts this holiday season.  

While these numbers are staggering, don’t let it ruin your entire shopping experience.  

By practicing safe online habits and shopping responsibly, you’ll more than likely avoid becoming a victim.  

Here’s our top online shopping security tips:  

  1. Check your bank accounts 1-2 times a week.                                                          

Checking your bank accounts regularly allows you to recognize any unknown or fraudulent charges quickly, and immediately report a deceptive transaction to your bank. 

Be sure to signup bank text or email alerts to stay in the know. With plain text commands or account instructions in place, swift action can take place in addressing fraudulent transactions. Read more here

  1. Pay attention to grammatical and punctuation errors in emails. 

Since cyberhackers live all over the world. English isn’t always their first or best language, especially when it comes to the written word.  To get around this, bad actors often relay on translation software to fix their grammatical errors. However, such tools are far from perfect and cybercriminals often misinterpret the correct use of those words. 

The next time you receive a discount-driven email filled with spelling errors, run. It’s a clear as day red flag. 

  1. Beware of incredible deals from unknown merchants 

Hackers often prey on unsuspecting buyers through a buyer’s brand familiarity. They do this by creating fake stores designed to look similar or identical to trusted retailers’ sites.  

A best practice is to bookmark the familiar sites you typically go to directly, rather than clicking on discounted offers or coupons in emails or text messages. Use your common sense when shopping and understand if a deal sounds too good to be true, it is. 

  1. Do not shop on public Wi-Fi. 

We know. It’s fun to shop while savouring your favorite drink at the coffee shop but it’s just not safe. Public Wi-Fi t is often unencrypted and unsecured. This leaves your mobile phone vulnerable to a “man in the middle” type attack, enabling a hacker to seize your name, address, credit card number, and other confidential information.  

A safer alternative to public Wi-Fi is using a virtual private network (VPN), which allows you to transmit your encrypted data securely. Read more here on the Norton blog. 

  1. Enable 2-step verification on your online accounts 

Having your password compromised is a frightening reality, no matter how responsible you are with your log-in information. It is quite common to use the same password for multiple accounts, out of sheer convenience. Most cybercriminals are aware of this habit and will often hack into multiple accounts of the same user, with an identical password.  

Setting up a 2-step verification adds an extra layer of security to your account. This prevents even those who stole your password from gaining entry to your private data. Read more here

Follow these above tips and you’ll stay safe from bad actors and enjoy this season’s festivities to the fullest. Learn more about how to keep your business secure here.