In the United States, Christmas shopping typically begins on Black Friday, with the most money being spent on Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday is the biggest online shopping day in US history. Last year, it hit a record online sale of over 9.4 billion US dollars spent.
This year, due to the global pandemic and stay at home orders, there will be even more holiday shopping done online. However, the increased use of purchasing online is also associated with a greater number of risks.
Here are 6 tips on how you can stay safe shopping online this holiday season.
- Beware of Shopping-Related Phishing Schemes: Phishing attempts are continuously getting more sophisticated, and hackers will be spoofing major retailers this holiday season to trick shoppers. Always think before you click. Check the sender information, and never share any confidential payment information via email.
- Don’t Shop Online Using Free WiFi: When you use public WiFi, like in coffee shops or the airport, the information you input can be accessed by anyone else on that network. If you are online shopping outside your home, use an encrypted VPN or your cellular data.
- Purchase from Trusted Retailers: Only shop from reputable vendors. Make sure that the site is encrypted, so your confidential information remains protected. Be wary of new vendors that have deals too good to be true because it could be an attempt to steal your payment information.
- Use a Strong Password: The first step in cybersecurity is creating a strong password or passphrase. Make sure you have a strong and unique password across your accounts. Do not reuse passwords because if someone gets ahold of one password, they can access all of your accounts.
- Keep an Eye on Your Cards: Typically, users don’t realize their personal information has been compromised until it is too late. Keep an eye on your credit cards for any unusual or suspicious activity, and make sure to report anything immediately.
- Ship to a Secure Location: In addition, to staying safe online, you should make sure your packages stay safe physically. Package theft is a serious problem this time of year. If you can, ship your packages to a secure P.O. box or install a security camera on your front porch.