With Cyber Monday looming, and ads galore headed our way, we know that we can be easily enticed with an ‘Amazing!’ or ‘Fantastic!’ offer. But as with any online activity, there are things to be aware of when shopping online. Scams, theft, phishing and adware are unfortunately extremely common, especially during this hyped-up shopping period.
We’ve gathered together some tips to help you safely navigate the online shopping experience:
🛒 Warning signs: Are you shopping on a legitimate site? If the online retailer does not provide adequate information about privacy, terms and conditions of use, dispute resolution or contact details, it may be a scam site.
🛒 Payment protection: Using a third-party service like PayPal or Google Pay offers the consumer an added layer of payment protection. It also adds security against fraudulent purchases. Something else to watch out for: If the seller does not allow payment through credit card transactions or a secure payment service, they may not be genuine.
🛒 Review your cart: Always double-check your cart before you click ‘Buy’ – especially figures such as quantity and shipping amount. This is where errors often occur – so a thorough check can lead to less stress later.
🛒 Avoid scams: A site can request additional purchases or subscriptions in order to complete a purchase. This trick is particularly common for sites that offer music downloads, so it’s worthwhile doing a comparison shop on other sites so you can make smart decisions. Phishing scams are also prevalent on shopping sites: if you receive a promotional offer via email that might look questionable, don’t click on it. Go to the company’s website first, look for the deal there and check that it’s a genuine offer.
🛒 Personal details: Online shopping requires using a bunch of important personal details, including address and payment information. Be cautious when giving out this information, as it can lead to identity fraud. It details exactly where others can find you, and provides account information. Legitimate vendors should not be asking for more than the standard info. It is also advised to stay away from sites that request data such as Social Security numbers.
🛒 Your location: Be careful where you are doing your shopping! Although you may generally enjoy online shopping from the comfort of your sofa, a product may also catch your eye on a portable device while you’re out and about. Remember to only use secure Internet connections, or a VPN like RAV VPN, even when using sites you trust. Use antivirus software such as RAV Endpoint Protection to catch files that can steal information, or track your browsing history and key entries. Also check to see if the website itself is secure – the URL should start with “https” and there should be a closed padlock icon next to it.
🛒 Keep information private: Getting personal information from social networking sites is an easy hack for cybercriminals. To prevent this from happening, never link buyer accounts to sites that hold personal information, such as Facebook.
It’s wonderful to live in an age where we can make purchases at the click of a button – but it’s crucial not to get carried away. This Cyber Monday, make sure you adopt safe practices so that you and your loved ones can enjoy the benefits of the online shopping experience without any nasty side effects. Passing on these top tips to other members of your household, including kids and teens, will also help raise cyber awareness with online purchases. So stay safe, stay secure, and shop wisely.