The holiday season is fast approaching, and so is the frenzied shopping season of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. With it comes great sales from stores a-plenty, and with online shopping deals being a click away, shoppers will be sure to get their fingers ready to score deals online.
Among other things which come along with the shopping season: online scams. To stay cyber safe while online shopping, here is a guide to safely shop Black Friday and Cyber Monday to fully enjoy the holiday spirit!
If you are planning to do some serious retail damage, at least keep your bank account details safe! And this means no shopping over public Wifi networks where your credit card or banking information is unencrypted and exposed.
Better yet, if you are planning to be doing a lot of online shopping and you must use a public Wifi, use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) at the very least.
You may see more retailers making effort to get their products out during the holiday season as they try to cash-in on shoppers hunting for gifts. However, not all of these newly emerged retailers are trustworthy or legit. Sure, they may seem to be offering cheap deals, but would your products ever arrive?
A couple signs that should raise your flags to a possibly untrustworthy site are: there is no contact number or address of the business, it asks you for credit card information on times when you are not making a purchase, the site itself contains broken links and looks like it was designed by a toddler with poor language, their sales or returns policies are unclear or non-existent.
Another point to look out for is the padlock icon on shopping sites. Sometimes it may appear as a green lock, have a website address with HTTPS rather than HTTP (“S” = secure), or an unbroken key symbol to show that the website encrypts traffic to and from it which means no one else but that website can read any credit card details and/or any passwords you enter there.
Many websites will give you the option to “Save Your Details” for later in order forms or fields so that it may autofill later for faster transactions.
While this may seem like a convenience for lazy shoppers who want to shop and pay in a few clicks, leaving your personal info, password and credit card details on the site is like leaving a gateway for criminals to access them.
If you are shopping on a device which is not your own, try to clear all these stored information as well.
Happy shopping for the holiday season, Bolehians!