For those of you who prefer clicking for bargains rather than standing in line and fighting the crowds on Black Friday, this is for you. Thanksgiving is probably a happy memory and a few football games are lingering in your mind, but now it’s time to turn your attention to holiday shopping.
Today is Cyber Monday and I think it’s a little easier on the feet and constitution than Black Friday. I would rather go online and go after all the bargains, rather than waiting in line and fighting all the crazy people out there.
As with anything online, you need to take the good with the bad. There will be a lot of great deals from reputable sites, but watch out for online scams. Online scammers try to game the search engines with “legitimate” bargains. You search for a bargain and the link takes you to a site that looks legitimate. Check to see that it is a legitimate merchant before you buy anything. Some are just sites with malware.
Also look out for social media scams. Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are popular targets. Most Pinterest scams so far involve surveys. A seemingly great offer for a discounted service or product will first ask for personal information. This is a basic phishing scam to get you to give up personal information that results in targeted attacks. As usual, the goal is to get you to part with your money.
Here are some tips to keep you safe while online shopping:
- Update all your devices, including PCs, tablets and phones with the latest operating system and security patches.
- Enable phishing and malware protection in your browser.
- Use credit cards or services like PayPal for online payments. You can seek a credit if you do not get your delivery.
- Don’t click on links in any unsolicited email, text message or tweets.
- Don’t respond to emergency emails asking for money or any action, unless you are certain of the sender. Helping Hurricane Sandy victims and veterans are currently very popular.
- If you receive a request for personal information from a business, verify the legitimacy of the request by calling the company requesting the information.
- Make sure a site uses SLL during any online transaction. Check for HTTPS in the URL in your browser address bar and a Cybertrust Certificate Verification link or similar on the website.
- Don’t log into an account on a website from an open wireless network, unless they use SSL.
- Always compare the link in an email to the web address link you are directed to and determine if they match.
- Don’t respond to an offer that seems too good to be true.
- Do not enter personal or financial information into any forms on a website, unless you know it’s a merchant you can trust.
- Have fun
Shopping online is a great way to get some bargains and save time. Enjoy yourself, but keep safe. You worked hard for your money, so don’t let scammers get you to part with it.
Photo credit whiteafrican