For most Americans, holiday season is shopping season. People wait and save money for months eyeing to those special sales on their favorite products. Over the years, many customers prefer doing their holiday shopping online.
Shopping online helps them avoid huge crowds, and they can also make price comparisons on different websites within seconds. And this year, COVID-19 will force a greater number of people to shop online for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
What you don’t know, however, is that the more you shop online, the more you are at risk for cyber attacks. Let’s face it; not everyone is conscious of cybersecurity when shopping online. But cyber crimes are on the rise.
At Computer Sleuths, we help protect our customers in Norcross and the wider Metro Atlanta area from viruses and other cybersecurity threats. Click here to find out how we can help you do the same.
Today, we will tell you how to stay safe while enjoying online shopping during the holidays, Black Friday, or whenever you find a good sale.
1. Check the URL
Firstly, you have to ensure that the website or e-commerce store you’re shopping from is secured. A secure website is where your financial and personal details are encrypted and transferred securely across networks.
A simple and effective method of determining whether a website is secure is checking its URL. The web address should be preceded by ‘https: //.’ Sometimes, the address bar will also display a padlock icon and the full company name in green, which indicates a secure website.
2. Use Your Credit Card
This may go against what you read on your favorite financial blog. But when it comes to cybersecurity while shopping online, we highly recommend that you choose credit cards over debit cards.
In the case of cybercrime, you will still have time to notice discrepancies in your statement and correct them before paying your credit card bill. And even if your credit card information is stolen, you don’t have to pay unauthorized charges (except for a nominal amount).
But if someone steals your debit card information, the money is immediately taken from your checking account, which you may or may not get back. If you are hesitant to use a credit card, try to look for alternative ways like PayPal, Google Wallet, or Apple Wallet for secure payments online.
3. Avoid Public Wi-Fi
Avoid making financial transactions online when you are connected to a public network. Public Wi-Fi isn’t secure, and hackers often lie in wait to capture information transferred over these networks. So avoid online shopping over public Wi-Fi. But if you must, use a VPN.
4. Use Strong, Unique Passwords
Finally, always use unique passwords when shopping online. Many websites will have you create an account, and it is common practice to use the same password we have for other websites. But this only makes things easy for hackers. That is why always create a new, strong password for each website.
These are four simple ways to keep yourself secure when buying your favorite products online. If you want to learn more about cybersecurity, click here to talk to our experts at Computer Sleuths. We also provide valet services in Norcross and the wider metro Atlanta area, where we come to your place to perform virus removal and other services.