We have become a society of convenience. Gone are the days where you spent weeks crafting a long list of gift ideas and mentally preparing yourself for a full day at the mall. Now you can add items to a cart and in a few clicks, VOILA your holiday shopping is complete!
The number of online shoppers has exponentially increased over the years. In 2017, there were about 1.79 billion online shoppers, and that is expected to increase to 2.14 billion by 2021. About 30% of Americans purchase goods online weekly. Are you one of them? Do you know that risks?
Not all shopping sites are created equal. Just because the site looks legitimate and has great reviews does not mean it is safe to shop. Many sites were made to dupe customers. They sell counterfeit goods and buy their reviews to make consumers believe it is a credible site. If you never used the site before ask around to see if anyone you know has ordered from there AND use a secure site to pay, such as PayPal. If the site turns out to be fake PayPal will refund you the full amount you paid.
Hackers are getting more creative with the emails they send. During this time of year you are receive hundreds of emails from stores pushing their holiday deals, and cyber criminals know that.
Always hover over a link before clicking it to verify that it is coming from a credible site. Also, be alert for typos and downloadable “coupons.” Most stores will have links to deals on their website, before you sign up for any discounts go to the stores site to verify the deal is legitimate.
Do not shop while waiting in line at Starbucks! When shopping on public WiFi you have a higher risk of getting hacked and losing your money. It is important to never enter credit card information while using public WiFi. If you absolutely have to make a purchase on the go be sure to use a secure pay site such as PayPal or Venmo.
Be skeptical of every deal and site you come across. If the price seems too low for those designer sunglasses odds are they are not real. If the site asks you to input your personal information in order to receive an outrageous discount odds are it’s a trap. If it seems too good to be true odds are… it is!
Don’t Give More than Necessary
This is where common sense and instinct come in to play. Does Target really need your social security number to complete your purchase? NO. Do not give out more information than necessary. The only information you should need to make an online purchase is your name, address, phone number and email.
I know it is easy to have the same password for all of your shopping sites, but this is a very dangerous practice. If you have a universal password for all of your sites it is easy for your accounts to become compromised. You are making the job easier for cyber criminals by giving them only one password to guess to gain access to all of your accounts and information.
Use a Credit Card
Never shop online with a debit card. Most credit card companies give you a 1-2 month window to report fraud, however debit cards only allow you 2-7 days. If you don’t check your account daily it can be weeks before you notice a fraudulent charge and if you used a debit card it will be too late to get a refund from your bank.
Contact The TNS Group today for more tips on how to keep your data safe!