9 Tips to Stay Safe While Cyber Shopping This Holiday Season

Online ShoppingThe holiday shopping season has returned and many of us are scouring the web looking for the best deals on the items that top this year’s wishlist.

While it’s obvious that retailers are preparing themselves for the Black Friday & Cyber Monday rush, we also have to remember that cybercriminals are also putting the finishing touches on their holiday scams and spam campaigns.

Below are a few tips to help you stay safe if you decide to indulge in online shopping this holiday season.

  1. Make Sure your Antivirus is Up-to-date
    Verify that your antivirus software is up-to-date with the latest virus definitions and useful features like real-time scanning are enabled.
  2. Update your Operating System & Software
    Check & make sure that your computer’s operating system and software are fully patched and up-to-date. This will minimize the chances of being hit by a drive-by-download attack.
  3. Utilize Security Plugins
    Give yourself an extra layer protection by using browser security plugins or apps like NoScript, HTTPS Everywhere & LastPass.
  4. Use Strong Passwords
    Most companies offer the option to create an account to make future purchases easier. Be sure to use a strong password if you sign-up on your favorite retailer’s website. (That means ‘123456’ and ‘password1’ are out of the question!)
  5. Use Credit Instead of Debit
    Credit cards offer more buyer protection than debit cards and you can dispute any unauthorized or fraudulent charges that show up on your card. That being said, be sure to keep an eye on future billing statements.
  6. Be Wary of Email Advertisements
    Retailers have been sending out their holiday promotions for the last week or so and there’s a good chance cybercriminals will try to slip in a message or two. Avoid falling for their traps by manually typing in the URL instead of following links and refrain from downloading any suspicious file attachments.
  7. Stick to Trusted Websites
    Don’t go off handing your personal or financial information to any company. Stick to companies that you recognize and make sure you check the customer feedback/ratings for any sellers on Amazon or eBay before making a purchase.
  8. Make Sure Your Connection is Secure
    Check to see if “https://” is in your browser address bar or look for the lock icon to make sure your connection is secure before supplying personal information or completing a transaction.
  9. Keep an Eye Out for Scams
    Online scams come in many shapes and forms, from survey scams that promise you a brand new iPad or $1,000 gift card to bootleg merchandise. So proceed with caution if a deal seems too good to be true – it could be a scam.   

Do you have any online shopping safety tips? Share them with us below!

Happy holiday shopping!  

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