The holiday season is almost here. So, if you are planning to get gifts, you probably plan to buy them online during this season. Unluckily, this is also the season when hackers and online scammers shop for their victims. Online purchase scams tend to increase drastically during this season, probably because of all the shopping happening. That’s why you need to be careful this holiday season so you don’t become a victim.
Keeping Safe This Holiday Season While Shopping Online
The holiday season is a time of happiness as you feast, celebrate, and enjoy time with family and friends. You want to have fun as you open gifts and not stress out as you try to solve a case of financial fraud or identity theft. Shield yourself from hackers and online scammers by following these simple security tips while shopping online this holiday.
Avoid Deals That Are “Too Good to Be True”
Nowadays, Cyber Monday and Black Friday offers have become a custom of holiday shopping. However, if a platform offers a deal that appears too good to be true, then there may be something fishy going on. Compare pictures and prices of the products on similar platforms. Rock-bottom prices might be an indication that the company is fake or shady.
Keep away from such sites since scammers use such tactics to lure in their victims.
Use a VPN
Use a VPN if you need to buy something while out of the house or traveling. A virtual private network generates an encrypted environment between your device and the server. So, if someone wants to intercept your data, they won’t be able to see it. Ensure you always have a VPN, especially when using public Wi-Fi in an airport or coffee shop.
Use Official Shopping Apps
Many retailers, like Walmart, Amazon, etc., usually have their own mobile apps. These apps can be much safer if you want to place an order using your mobile device. So, download, install and use them instead of their websites.
Ensure you keep the apps updated. Usually, cybercriminals take advantage of vulnerabilities or bugs to breach such apps and steal your data. Switch on auto-updates or always ensure you install the updates once they’re available.
Avoid Using Public Wi-Fi
Free Wi-Fi networks are dangerous when it comes to online security. These networks are easy to hack. Hackers can use what is known as a man-in-the-middle attack to capture the info you send to a shopping platform, like payment details or credit cards. So, when shopping online this holiday, be sure to use a secure internet connection.
Don’t Trust Your Email
Suppose you open your email only to find an offer, a coupon, or an advert too good to pass. Of course, you will want to click on the link to find out what it is. However, you should avoid clicking anything like that. In fact, whether such emails are from your families, friends, or reputable platforms, it’s better if you don’t open the links directly.
Instead, open a new tab on your browser and visit the official website page that gave you a coupon. Cyberspace criminals and scammers know that you are more likely to click without thinking if they use the name of a trusted brand. Then proceed to share your credit card details on a site that seems legit but is not.
Update Your Software
Updating your software is the best way to shield your data, but many people overlook it. Usually, updates are released to enhance security and overcome new security threats. You might see updates as a waste of time since you have to wait for your PC to install them and then restart. However, the protective benefits are worth it.
Shop on Secure Sites Only
Before sharing your financial or personal data, confirm that the platform you are on is trustworthy and secure. The best way to go about it is to ensure the website’s address you are opening starts with “HTTPS.” Without an “s” at the end of “HTTP,” it means the website isn’t encrypted, so your data won’t be secure. All trustworthy shopping platforms usually have an “s” for your protection.
Stay Secure This Holiday Season
Thanks to the tips outlined here, you should be able to easily navigate this holiday successfully and have the best moments with your loved ones as each one unwraps their gifts. With these tips, you won’t have to spend your holidays talking to your financial providers, trying to solve issues you can easily avoid. Do you want to get cash to buy gifts for your loved ones? Consider completing a survey that pays!