For those of you who prefer clicking for bargains rather than standing in line and fighting the crowds on Black Friday (or this year you could choose Black Thursday too), this is for you. According to news reports, Black Friday sales were down from a year ago, but I’m sure things were crazy in many of the stores.
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 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 that could wreak havoc on your computer.
Also look out for social media scams. Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are popular targets. 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. If you see something that looks too good to be true, it probably is. It may have come from a hacked Facebook or other account, so beware. As usual, the goal is to get you to part with your money.
Here are some tips to keep you safe while online shopping:
- Make sure your computer has up-to-date security software
- Beware of email and pop-up coupons
- Use credit cards or services like PayPal for online payments
- Don’t click on links in any unsolicited email, text message or tweets
- Hover over links to verify where the link is directing you
- Be on the lookout for malicious QR codes
- Be cautious when clicking on advertisements on social media sites
- Check for HTTPS in the URL in your browser address bar before you enter credit card information
- Don’t fall for shipping notification scams; if you weren’t expecting a package, it might be a scam
- Do not enter personal or financial information into any forms on a website, unless you know it’s a merchant you can trust
- Don’t respond to an offer that seems too good to be true
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 zeitfaenger.at