Cyber Monday is one of the busiest days of online shopping and when people are in a hurry to snap up bargains there’s also increased risk of falling victim to scams. Taking some simple precautions can save a world of headache.
- Cyber Monday Security Tips
- #1 – Shop from your own computer or device
- #2 – Look for the https lock symbol
- #3 – Register with websites ahead of time
- #4 – Create unique passwords for each site
- #5 – Beware of bad links and apps
- #6 – Shop from the official store app instead of mobile browsers
- #7 – Download from the iTunes or Google Play store only
- #8 – If a deal is too good to be true, it probably is
- #9 – Keep your order confirmations and receipts in one place
- #10 – Monitor your bank statements as you go
- Summing Up
What is Cyber Monday?
Cyber Monday is the Monday after Thanksgiving in the US. It comes a couple of days after Black Friday. Marketers coined the term to describe people shopping online on their computers as they got back to work.
What makes Cyber Monday special are the online deals offered by small brands that are usually unable to compete on equal footing with big companies. This special date sees amazing deals on technology and data storage. Also big are clothing and shoes. As the day gets bigger every year, so do the range of products on offer.
What to expect on Cyber Monday?
Expect really good online deals. However, the risks of shopping have also gotten more and more serious. Cybercriminals are keen to take advantage of this big day.
Cyber Monday Security Tips
Here are some tips to help you shop on Cyber Monday with more peace of mind:
#1 – Shop from your own computer or device
Shopping online means you’ll be inputting your credit card and payment details. As much as possible, use your own devices when making online purchases. If you use public computers or computers at work, you run the risk of exposing yourself to malware (bad software) and information-capturing software.
Use the same precautions with internet connections.
#2 – Look for the https lock symbol
Secure ecommerce websites will ALWAYS have “https” in the URL and the lock symbol. Google has made it so that when you try to access a non-https site, you are immediately warned that you are entering an unsecure site. Do not push through with a purchase if the website you are on does not have the https lock symbol.
Note: websites with http:// at the start are not trying to cheat you. They just haven’t updated to the latest security technology yet.
#3 – Register with websites ahead of time
Determine in advance what websites you’ll be shopping on. Register early to minimize the risk of getting registered or redirected to fake mirror websites that unscrupulous cybercriminals set up during Cyber Monday. Don’t wait till the last minute to register.
Also, beware of registering with little-known ecommerce websites as the security on these sites may be lower compared to big brands.
#4 – Create unique passwords for each site
Universal passwords are super convenient. However, you’re putting yourself at risk when you use the same passwords for many websites. If a hacker gets ahold of your password in one website, your other accounts would be similarly vulnerable to attack. To avoid this, create complex and unique passwords whenever you register.
Here’s a hack. Create a memorable sentence and get the first letters.
My first son was born in 98.
Then, apply the password hack in the photo above to create different variations for each site.
Cyberciminals create thousands of fake websites and phone apps to scam poor unsuspecting consumers. Thus, always make sure that you are on the website’s official website or mobile app.
Red flags that you are on a fake site include bad UI, buttons that are not working, or unusual extensions. (A .com extension becomes .co upon closer inspection).
#6 – Shop from the official store app instead of mobile browsers
Mobile browsers sometimes don’t show the URLs of the sites you’re giving up your payment information to. To protect your credit card info, choose the store’s official app if you’re using your mobile phone to purchase and avoid your phone’s browser.
#7 – Download from the iTunes or Google Play store only
Hackers create download buttons in bad websites, fake emails, and other internet pages. Never download any application from any site other than the Apple iTunes store or the Google Play store, (depending on your device).
If you download from other sources, you run the risk of downloading a fake app created to capture your identity and credit card details.
#8 – If a deal is too good to be true, it probably is
Cybercriminals are successful in their efforts because they play to the greed of consumers. They offer unbelievable deals and the lowest discounts.
If you come across any deal that just seems too good to be true, raise a red flag. Inspect the website you’re on and the links you have to click. They’ll usually try to send an email or a text message with a super tempting deal.
And just think to yourself – why would Amazon send a gift voucher by text message that’s full of spelling mistakes?
#9 – Keep your order confirmations and receipts in one place
One benefit of online shopping is that you get email notifications about all your purchases – from shipping info to e-receipts. Designate an email address that these will get sent to. If possible, create a specific label or folder for these mails.
Having all these documents in one place will be tremendously helpful if you ever have to get in touch with a credit card company or online store to dispute a purchase or claim your money back.
#10 – Monitor your bank statements as you go
As you shop, check the debits on your credit card or bank statements. (Ahh, the beauty of online banking.) Just make sure that you are using a secure connection, as always. This way, you’ll be instantly alerted if you see an unfamiliar purchase or a transaction that doesn’t match your receipts.
How does the former happen? Malware-infected credit card readers, compromised websites, or even dishonest cashiers may be the culprits.
Shopping at home in the comfort of your jammies is fun and convenient. Shop with confidence by applying these simple tips that we’ve shared. If you want more shopping hacks rather than security tips, check out our Black Friday online shopping tips. They’re applicable for any online shopping experience.
Happy shopping, everyone!