Black Friday and Cyber Monday are fast approaching this year. With so many shops rolling out amazing Black Friday deals online and then offering even more deals on Cyber Monday, many people don’t even need to leave their house to do their Christmas shopping anymore. If you are one of the thousands of people trying to save yourself the headache of fighting the masses this year, you’ll want to take some extra precautions to make sure your credit card and bank account information stay safe this holiday shopping season. Below are seven tips to help you guard yourself against scams and too-good-to-be-true offers.
1. Be Aware of Fake Emails
The scam email offering links to great coupons and discounts is one of the oldest tricks in the book. If you’re ever in doubt, do not click the link. Instead, do your own search of the website in question. If the email is legitimate, the same sales advertised in the email will be displayed on the site. If you can’t find the great deals touted in your email, it was most likely a scam.
2. Only Shop Sites You Trust
Cyber Monday is a prime time for scammers to try to lure you in with extremely deep discounts. Be wary of any retailers you don’t already know and trust, however. If you’re in doubt, you can always check on the retailer’s legitimacy with the Better Business Bureau’s website. Legitimate sellers are often accredited by the Bureau.
3. Watch Out for Social Media Scams
Facebook and Twitter are two prime targets for cyber scams. Many times, cyber criminals will use fake or hacked accounts to post links to fantastic deals and special offers, especially in any open groups you might be a part of. If you don’t recognize the person posting, or you think the deal sounds too good, steer clear because it’s probably a scam.
4. Only Shop on a Secure Connection
When in doubt, check your URL bar at the top of your web page to see if your connection is secure. You should see a little padlock on the left-hand side of the URL, followed by an “https.” This means your information is secure and private. Never enter any sensitive information if the URL only says “http” or you don’t see that padlock.
5. Never Use Your Debit Card for Online Purchases
It may seem like a hassle, but setting up a PayPal account linked to a credit card is much safer than using your debit card. Putting your debit card information into a site, even one that should be secure runs the risk of someone getting your bank account information. Even if your bank does not hold you responsible for fraudulent charges, it’s better to be safe than sorry on such a big shopping day.
6. Update All of Your Software
Before you click on a single great deal, make sure all of the software on your computer is fully up-to-date. This includes all of the system updates, browser updates, malware scans, anti-virus scans and pop-up blocker updates you’ve been putting off. All of this gives you extra layers of security while you shop
7. Don’t Give Out Personal Info
This one is pretty common sense, but it’s worth repeating. If a retail site starts asking for detailed personal information like Social Security numbers, bank account information or unrelated passwords, stop immediately and get out of that site. No legitimate seller needs that level of personal data to complete a transaction.
Cyber Monday can be a great time to score stellar deals and this year follow TrainACE’s online shopping safety tips to make sure your shopping experience is a safe one this holiday season.