Black Friday is just around the corner and that means shoppers everywhere are going to be grabbing deals left and right. While some people still find sport in waiting outside a store at the crack of dawn, the ease of online shopping has many staying home and clicking a mouse to grab those discounts.
Amazon has become the main online retailer people shop with on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but many others have jumped on the e-commerce bandwagon giving people more options than ever for their holiday shopping fix.
Unfortunately, that also means hackers and cyber criminals are out there as well waiting to take advantage. Just one wrong click on malware disguised as an “incredible deal” and they can gain access to your credit card number or mobile wallet account.
Our GEEK911 Virus Emergency Team (V.E.T.) springs into overtime during the holiday season, when many of our clients come to us with computer issues after some unfortunate Black Friday online shopping incident. We’re at the ready to take care of the problem and get them back on their way with a solution and some sage advice.
We’re a proud locally owned and operated computer services company that serves the greater San Jose/Silicon Valley area and we believe in going the extra mile for our clients. That includes not only coming to the rescue when their IT goes awry, but also offering expert advice to keep them safe from the same mishap in the future.
To help you head off any cyber shopping issues this Black Friday, we’ve compiled our 8 top tips to help you stay safe while shopping online.
Read these 8 Cyber shopping Safety Tips Before You Shop this Black Friday
Online shopping is overtaking retail store shopping during the big holiday sales, which means you’re more likely to be the target of a cyber criminal than a pickpocket.
More than half the U.S. adult online population were victims of cyber crime last year. (Symantec)
You can protect yourself from being a victim of cyber crime by following a few tips to stay safe while shopping online on Black Friday (or anytime).
Look for the Lock in the Browser
You want to make sure you’re only shopping sites that are secure and use “https” not “http”, the difference is the security. Secure sites use encryption to keep your payment information safe during the checkout process. Secure sites will have a lock that appears to the left of the URL in your browser and start out “https://”.
Don’t Click Suspicious Email Links
Phishing emails that pretend to be someone they’re not are on the rise during the holiday shopping season. You might see one that says it’s from a retailer like Walmart and asks you to click a link to get a special deal. Don’t click that link!
This is a popular way to either steal your credit card details or get you to download malware onto your computer. Always go to a retailer’s website by typing their address in your browser, rather than trusting an email link.
Use Different Passwords on Each Site
We tend to use the same password for multiple sites so we won’t forget our login, but that’s a dangerous habit. A hacker only has to breach one password in order to login as you to multiple sites. A password manager app can help you create and remember strong passwords that are different for every website.
Be Careful with Links on Mobile Devices
Many websites now have as many or more mobile devices accessing them than desktops or laptops. But if you’re shopping by mobile be careful of shortened URLs which are used often on sites like Twitter. A shortened URL to a “sale” can mask the true address, which might be to a malicious site.
Read Seller Reviews
Amazon is popular because you can buy almost anything there and get it delivered in 2 days, but they work through a network of 3rd party sellers and not all are what they seem. Read seller reviews on websites before you buy and for new websites you haven’t shopped before.
Shop with Prepaid Cards
One way to keep the debit card attached to your main checking account from being stolen online is to shop using a prepaid credit card. This limits your exposure in the event the credit card numbers are stolen.
Read Return & Refund Policies
You might be so excited about snagging a great deal that you don’t even think to check the return policy first, which could possibly exclude that thing you just bought. Save yourself the hassle later should the item not be what you expect and read a site’s return and refund policy, so you know what to expect.
Shop with Sites You Trust
There are many online shopping sites from other countries that offer incredibly low prices, but not all are created equal. If you shop with a retailer you’re not familiar with, you might run into issues with item quality, sizing, or shipping. Stick with sites you know and trust.
Need a Tech Pro this Holiday Season?
From computer tune-ups to smart home setups to helping you personalize a new tech gift for a loved one, GEEK911 is here for all your holiday technology needs.
Give us a call anytime for some jolly holiday IT help at 1-866-433-5411 or reach out to us online.