The holiday season is here and that means a flurry of online shopping activity. People will be shopping from desktops at work, laptops at home, tablets, and mobile devices.
Due to the pandemic, 2020 is expected to be a banner year for online shopping, with e-commerce holiday sales expected to grow 25% to 35% from November to January.
While this is welcome news to online retailers, it’s also seen as a great opportunity by many cybercriminals who try to scam consumers through malicious websites, fake ads, and phishing advertisements.
Many remote support sessions over the holidays have to do with viruses and malware infections that came from dangerous holiday shopping websites. Identity theft and credit card fraud are also dangers if you trust the wrong e-commerce site with your information.
During the holiday shopping season in 2019, online purchase fraud increased by 29%.
Before you begin those marathon holiday shopping trips online, it’s important to remember cybersecurity safety tips so you can keep your experience as trouble free as possible.
Only Shop Sites with the Lock and HTTPS
You never want to enter any personal details, especially your credit card number, into a website form on a site that only has HTTP. This indicates that the traffic is not encrypted.
When shopping online, always look for the lock icon to the left of the address and “HTTPS” in front of the URL.
Use Alternate Payment Methods
It’s always a risk any time you put your credit card or debit card number into an online cart. You can better protect yourself from fraud by using alternate payment methods that don’t reveal your personal payment card details to the retailer.
Some of these alternate payment methods include:
- Google Pay
- Apple Pay
- Prepaid card
Delete Your Payment Details After Purchase
Large retailers are not immune from data breaches. Breaches have been experienced in recent years by companies like Target, Macy’s, and Kay Jewelers. When this happens, if your card data is stored in their database, it could be a risk of being stolen.
It’s a good rule of thumb to always delete your payment card details from your account immediately after completing your purchase.
Only Use Trusted Retailer Mobile Apps
Mobile malware can cause devices to be infected with malware or plant a trojan that goes after online banking details.
Be careful when downloading shopping apps. It’s best to go directly to a trusted retailer’s site to ensure you’re downloading the right app, rather than trying to search in an app store, where you could end up getting a scam app instead.
Don’t Shop When on Public Wi-Fi
If you’re connected to a public Wi-Fi at the airport or a coffee shop, do not enter any credit card details, your address, or site passwords. Hackers on the same free hotspot can spy on your traffic and capture that information.
If you’re away from home and want to shop via your mobile device, here are two safe options:
- Turn off your phone’s Wi-Fi to ensure you’re on your wireless carrier’s connection.
- Use a VPN application to encrypt your connection.
Don’t Fall for Social Media Ads from Unknown Retailers
This time of year, personalized ads are popping up in social media feeds paid for by advertisers. One scam that is often used is to get someone to purchase off an unfamiliar site to grab their credit card details.
Don’t fall for those social media ads from unknown retailers you may see that seem to “get you.” They are actually tapping into the demographic data Facebook makes available to advertisers.
Only Shop Sites You Know
It’s easy to get lured in by a great deal or a rare find during the holiday season and let your guard down by shopping on a site you haven’t used before.
Resist this urge and stick with retailers that you know. This also goes for shopping on Amazon, where 3rdparties can sell products. Be sure the item is either shipping from Amazon or is from a retailer you’ve purchased from before.
Ship Your Purchases to a Safe Place
If you are not home during the day to get a delivery, then it may not be the address you want to use for your shipment. That could leave your package at risk of “porch pirates.”
Some safe alternatives for shipping your holiday purchases are:
- To your work address (if allowed)
- To a friend/neighbor that is home during the day
- Ship to store (many Walmart stores now have convenient pickup lockers)
Is Your Home Network Safe from Viruses & Malware?
Quantum PC Services offers home network support that includes protection from viruses, malware, and malicious shopping websites. Make sure you’re fully protected this holiday season!
Contact us today to learn more! Call 920-256-1214 or reach us online.