How Do I Stay Safe While Shopping Online On Cyber Monday 2023?
October 2, 2023 | by Thomas Low
It’s Cyber Monday 2023, and you’re excited to snag some amazing deals from the comfort of your own home. But with the rise of online scams and fraud, it’s important to take precautions to keep your personal information and finances secure. In this article, we’ll share some essential tips and tricks to help you stay safe while shopping online on this Cyber Monday. So grab a cup of coffee, cozy up on your couch, and let’s dive into the world of safe online shopping!
Research the Website
When shopping online on Cyber Monday 2023, it’s important to research the website before making a purchase. There are a few key steps you can take to ensure the website is legitimate and secure.
Check the URL
Start by checking the website’s URL. Look for any unusual or misspelled words in the domain name. Malicious websites often use URLs that are slightly different from the legitimate ones in an attempt to deceive users. Make sure the URL starts with “https://” as the “s” indicates a secure connection.
Look for Security Seals
Another important step is to look for security seals on the website. These seals indicate that the website has taken measures to protect your personal information and payment details. Look for seals such as Norton Secured, McAfee Secure, or Truste Verified.
Reading reviews from other shoppers can give you valuable insights about the website’s reliability and customer service. Look for reviews on independent websites or forums rather than solely relying on the website’s testimonials, as they may only include positive comments.
Use a Secure Network
Using a secure network is crucial to protect your sensitive information while shopping online.
Avoid Public Wi-Fi
When shopping online, it is best to avoid using public Wi-Fi networks. These networks are often unsecure and can make it easier for hackers to intercept your personal information. Instead, opt for a secure and password-protected Wi-Fi network.
Use a VPN
If you must use a public Wi-Fi network, consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN encrypts your internet connection and adds an extra layer of security, making it more difficult for hackers to access your data. There are many reliable VPN services available that offer affordable plans.
Update Your Software
Keeping your software up to date is essential for maintaining your online security.
Keep Your Operating System Up to Date
Regularly updating your operating system is crucial for ensuring that you have the latest security patches and bug fixes. Set your device to automatically install updates or check for updates regularly and install them promptly.
Update Your Anti-Virus Software
Having up-to-date anti-virus software is essential for protecting your device from malware and other threats. Make sure to regularly update your anti-virus software to ensure it can identify and block new threats effectively.
Be Wary of Phishing Emails
Phishing emails are a common method used by cybercriminals to steal personal information. Being able to identify and avoid these emails is crucial for staying safe while shopping online.
Check the Sender’s Email Address
Before clicking on any links or providing any information, check the sender’s email address. Be wary of emails that come from unfamiliar or suspicious email addresses. Legitimate companies usually use official email addresses that match their domain name.
Hover over Links
Hovering over links in an email can give you an indication of where they lead. If the link URL looks suspicious or doesn’t match the website it claims to be from, do not click on it. Instead, manually enter the website’s URL in your browser to ensure you are visiting the legitimate website.
Beware of Urgency
Phishing emails often create a sense of urgency to prompt you to take immediate action. They may claim that your account has been compromised, or there is a limited-time offer. Be cautious of these tactics and avoid rushing into any actions without verifying the legitimacy of the email.
Create Strong and Unique Passwords
Using strong and unique passwords is one of the most important steps you can take to protect your online accounts.
Use a Combination of Characters
When creating a password, use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Avoid using common phrases or easily guessable information, such as your birthdate or pet’s name. The longer and more complex your password, the harder it is for hackers to crack.
Avoid Reusing Passwords
Using the same password for multiple accounts is risky as it can compromise your entire online presence if one account is breached. Make sure to use unique passwords for each of your online accounts to minimize the impact of a potential security breach.
Consider Using a Password Manager
To make managing multiple passwords easier, consider using a password manager. Password managers securely store your passwords and can generate strong, unique passwords for each of your accounts. They also auto-fill your login information, making it convenient and secure to access your accounts.
Enable Two-Factor Authentication
Enabling two-factor authentication (2FA) adds an extra layer of security to your online accounts.
Add an Extra Layer of Security
With 2FA enabled, you will need to provide a second form of verification, such as a unique code sent to your mobile device, in addition to your password. This makes it significantly more difficult for hackers to gain unauthorized access to your accounts, even if they manage to obtain your password.
Use Authenticator Apps
Authenticator apps, such as Google Authenticator or Authy, provide an additional level of security for your 2FA codes. These apps generate unique codes that expire after a short period, adding an extra layer of protection against unauthorized access.
Shop from Known and Trusted Retailers
When shopping online, it’s best to stick to known and trusted retailers to minimize the risk of being scammed or receiving counterfeit products.
Stick to Familiar Websites
Shop from well-known and established websites that have a good reputation for customer service and quality products. Popular e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, eBay, and Walmart are generally safe choices.
Research Lesser-Known Retailers
If you come across a retailer you are unfamiliar with, take the time to research them before making a purchase. Look for customer reviews, search for any complaints or scams associated with the retailer, and check for a physical address and contact information to ensure they are legitimate.
Use Secure Payment Methods
When making online purchases, it’s important to use secure payment methods to protect your financial information.
Use Credit Cards Instead of Debit Cards
Credit cards offer more protection against fraudulent charges than debit cards. In case of unauthorized transactions or disputes, credit card companies often have policies in place to investigate and resolve the issue. If possible, use a credit card for your online purchases.
Consider Using PayPal or Secure Payment Gateways
Popular online payment services like PayPal offer an additional layer of security by acting as an intermediary between you and the retailer. You can link your credit card or bank account to PayPal and make purchases without directly sharing your financial information with the retailer. Alternatively, some online retailers offer secure payment gateways that encrypt your payment details, preventing unauthorized access.
Keep Track of Your Online Purchases
Keeping track of your online purchases is important for various reasons, including tracking shipments and identifying any potential issues.
Save Receipts and Order Confirmations
After completing a purchase, save the receipts and order confirmations sent to your email. These documents serve as proof of purchase and can be helpful if you need to return an item or resolve any issues with your order.
Monitor Your Financial Statements
Regularly review your financial statements, including credit card and bank statements, to ensure there are no unauthorized charges or suspicious activity. If you notice anything unusual, report it to your financial institution immediately.
Be Cautious with Personal Information
Protecting your personal information is vital for safeguarding your identity and online security.
Limit Sharing of Personal Details
Be cautious about sharing personal information online, especially on social media platforms. Avoid posting details like your home address, phone number, or other sensitive information that could be used for identity theft or targeted scams.
Avoid Oversharing on Social Media
While it may be tempting to share your Cyber Monday purchases on social media, be mindful of the information you disclose. Sharing details about expensive purchases can make you a target for burglars or scammers. Consider adjusting your privacy settings to limit who can see your posts.
By following these essential safety tips, you can shop online on Cyber Monday 2023 with confidence. Remember, being proactive and cautious is key to protecting your personal and financial information and ensuring a secure online shopping experience. Happy shopping!