Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) is one of the biggest shopping days of the year. While the crowds may deter some from going to the mall, it does not mean missing out on great sales. The following Monday, now referred to as Cyber Monday, is the day when many online retailers hold their biggest sales of the year. While shopping online is easier on the nerves, it also has its issues. Cyber Monday is also the day the day when cyber-crimes increase. The vast amounts of virtual money that get transferred during this time period makes this day attractive. To decrease the likelihood of becoming a victim there are few precautions you can take.
Avoid Clicking on Unfamiliar E-mail
Many scammers try to bail people with the promise of unbeatable deals. The email will contain a link that will take you to a different sales page. If the e-mail looks like it’s from an unreliable source, do not click on it. Instead, go to the retailer’s website directly.
Update Your Browser
When you shop online, make sure you are using the latest version of your web browser. The newer versions of this software tend to have improved methods to prevent spyware, phishing and adware. Being protected from viruses is one of the best ways to prevent fraud.
Notice the Website’s URL
A malicious web site will closely resemble a legitimate one. However, if you look closely there may be tell-tale signs that the site is not real. There may be misspelled words or the website ends with .net instead of .com. To protect your personal information, make sure the web site has HTTPS in the address bar. These designations ensure that your information is encrypted as it is transmitted.
Shop from Home
It is important that you do all of your online shopping from a secured network that requires a password to use. Resist the urge to purchase any over a free, wireless network. These networks are often unsecure and leave your personal information vulnerable to theft.
Pay With a Credit Card
If possible, try to use a credit card when shopping online. Credit cards come with an added level of protection. Should your credit card information get stolen, you are only liable for $50 in fraudulent charges. You can also dispute the charge if you notice suspicious activity. Using a debit card does not offer the same level of protection. When a fraudulent purchase is made, the money comes directly from your account
Only Give Out Relevant Information
Do not give out too much information on a web site. The only information that is necessary for placing an order online is an address, phone number, e-mail address and payment information. If a web site requires more information than that, you should probably avoid using it.
Nearly a billion dollars is transacted on Cyber Monday. While retailers enjoy this activity, so do criminals. Following these tips will help you prevent becoming a victim of a cyber-crime.