As night follows day, so Cyber Monday follows Black Friday in another US retailer-inspired sales push hanging on the coat-tails of Thanksgiving. Any excuse, eh? Of course, online retailers around the world have seized the opportunity to jump on the bandwagon – and where merchants lead, scammers are sure to “follow the money”.
For every reputable organisation coaxing you to part with cash for their unmissable, never to be repeated (this week!) bargain, there are plenty others after your money for nothing. They’re counting on your eagerness to grab a deal overcoming your good sense.
We’ll help you beat them!
Complementing our Black Friday tips already provided to help protect you from such scammers – i.e. using multiple passwords, buying from familiar websites with secure checkout systems, safeguarding personal information, avoiding mobile shopping and trusting your instincts – there are other techniques you can practice which increase your security and raise confidence levels when shopping online this Cyber Monday.
- Credit Card –use your credit card when making online purchases, not your debit card / cash card (i.e. not the account with all your cash sitting in it). Use the same credit card on all your regular online shopping sites, making it easier to track exactly what you spent on Cyber Monday and where. Setup ‘alerts’ on your credit card, helps you see what’s happening and highlights unusual spending patterns.
- Security Software – ensure up-to-date, reputable Security Software is installed and active on whichever device you use for online shopping (preferably your laptop and not a mobile device).
- Email – among all the legitimate offers sitting in your inbox there are bound to be some ‘phishing’ emails hiding. Try to verify URLs contained within emails. Check the email addresses for anything untoward. Best protection of all, don’t click on any links within the email – instead, navigate to the desired website (secure website – HTTPS – little padlock symbol) independently on your browser from a secure network (e.g. your own wi-fi – not a free wi-fi out on the street).
- Apps – if you really (really?) must shop online from a mobile device, beware downloading spoof apps, especially those mimicking genuine retailers. Better to use only tried and trusted apps that you’re familiar with to avoid potentially infecting your mobile device with a virus or other malicious software.
- Reviews – before interacting with any online vendor, check out their reviews. Only a few available and they’re all 5 star – beware. Hundreds or thousands available in a broad spread (no retailer satisfies everybody all the time) seems more legitimate. Read some of the reviews – do they sound real? Use your common sense to make a judgement.
- Customer Service – you could do worse than calling an organisation’s customer service line. Does someone answer? Good start. Mysteriously cut off? Red flag! Reputable companies provide a good customer service experience which should be able to dispel any lingering doubts you might have before buying online.
Protecting your online shopping comes down to trusting your instincts, applying common sense and the techniques we’ve highlighted – and that starts with understanding that the scammers are out there. Take care and grab that bargain!
If you want more information secure online shopping, contact us here at The IT Agency on (02) 8317 4730.