The holiday season is upon us and you’re definitely excited about buying your family and friends all those cool gifts they wanted (and throwing in a few splurges for yourself while you’re at it.) If those monstrous crowds during Black Friday just aren’t for you, chances are you’d rather shop from your desk or phone on Cyber Monday. Because we’re all busy and just want to get the shopping done, especially if there are deals too good to be missed, it’s unfortunately easy to have your safety compromised when shopping online when hackers make fake websites that look very similar to small and large retailers’ sites alike. Here are some things you can do to stay safe on Cyber Monday.
Make Sure the Site is Legit
Check out the website’s data. Check the IP address if something looks off. Does the domain not match up with where the business is supposed to be based?
Look for obvious grammar mistakes. Did the promotional email you receive or the site copy contain some glaring spelling errors you wouldn’t expect to see on the website? This is definitely a sign that site is fake.
Verify the company’s online presence. Most large and small businesses have some kind of social media presence. Verify that the company website is linked to their social media pages and that they are definitely the same company and not a ploy to get credit card numbers.
Be Aware Where and How You Pay
- Don’t use public wifi when shopping with your phone or tablet. Mobile devices may be convenient, but they present an enormous security threat. When you leave the comfort of your own home and trusted internet connection, you might forget to be aware that public wifi makes secure information like your credit card number vulnerable to hackers. Use your data plan or wait until you get home where you have a safe connection. Even when you are at home, there are some extra steps you can take to be safe with your personal or business wifi connection.
- Never pay through wire transfers or other unsecured methods. Any legitimate online retailer is going to have some kind of e-commerce solution set up to take payments online. Never make payments through wire transfer, money order, or any other unsecured method. If you’re using an online shopping cart, make sure that you have a secure connection. Your browser should indicate whether there is a valid security certificate present, usually denoted by a lock.
- Avoid using debit cards, even with a trusted retailer. Even if you are using a legitimate website, large scale information swipes are unfortunately common today like what happened with Target. Debit cards are far more vulnerable than credit cards even if your bank offers protection against unauthorized transactions. Because you are authorizing the initial transaction, if your debit card gets hacked then you can wind up waiting several months to get your money back– if you ever do.
Keeping yourself, your employees, and your family safe from hackers should always be a high priority year-round but especially on Cyber Monday when hackers are the most active. They know people will be busy, trying to get popular gifts fast, and not that cognizant of what they clicked and if the trusted retailer they always shop at is actually the real thing. Global Learning Systems can help familiarize you with the latest internet security developments so that you’ll always be one step ahead of cybercriminals.
We also offer IT solutions that can take all of the hassle out of setting up a safe and secure connection for your business, so that you can have peace of mind when it comes to internet safety. Contact us today!