Cybercriminals exploit Black Friday and Cyber Monday to launch scams and malicious activities. To avoid scams, follow these tips.Table of Contents
The shopping season has approached, and customers are already planning their holiday splurges for the end of the year. If you are one of those 334 million Americans who are going to be part of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you might want to take a glance at your emails and discount links for more details about the retail and e-commerce stores and make a shopping list before the sale.
However, all these moves are frequently being tracked by criminals to get your information and benefit themselves. There are numerous ways that cybercriminals take undue advantage of these rush hours, from spam, and clickbait to duping URLs, and one wrong move may put your valuable information in the wrong hands.
In today’s article, let’s focus on the best practices that customers can use to defend themselves from common cyber threats and other malicious activities.
1. Cybersecurity Best Practices for Shoppers!
Cybercriminals might use endless and inescapable ways to attack you, but by implementing these basic cyber security practices, customers can avoid these attacks and happily enjoy their shopping spree by experiencing a secure online shopping experience. So, here are six thumb rules to follow:
1.1. Verify the URL
During this time of the year, you might receive more promotional emails than usual; hence, you must exercise a little extra caution before clicking those links. You might check for links to know about your incoming shipping notification to save time and dodge the crowds.
Must look out for action steps before clicking on the URL:
- Hover your mouse over the link to get a preview of the URL, as cybercriminals might trick you by making the text of the link look real, but the underlying link might look something else.
- Use a URL checker by Google to determine if the link is a dupe; furthermore, you can report the link if it is malicious.
1.2. Don’t Purchase Things via Mobile without Double Checking the Source
You must be very careful before buying products through mobile shopping.
Here is how you can mitigate this issue:
- Using a mobile device to make online transactions is not the safest option as it is common for the entire URL to be hidden, and items to appear differently on a mobile device. Therefore, you are more inclined to ignore the minor discrepancies you see, making it simpler to think that a phony website is authentic.
- You should be cautious when downloading any shopping app from your favorite store because there are many fake ones out there. Instead, download the app straight from the business’s website to ensure its legitimacy.
1.3. Check Twice Before Giving Out Credit Card Information
Credit card information can be stolen in several ways by cybercriminals during this festive season.
Here are a few things you must check before giving your credit card information:
- Read for customer reviews and double-check the URL before making any online payments.
- According to global sources, around 65% of users face irregular pop-up purchases while using credit cards or other modes of e-payment. Take note of how much personal information you are providing to any website before checking out.
1.4. Don’t Shop on Hotspots
Even though open hotspots are free and easy to use, customers should be aware of safety and security before connecting to the public Wi-Fi network.
- Avoid shopping on public Wi-Fi networks, like in airports, coffee shops, or shopping malls. Open hotspots are extremely dangerous, as it is the perfect time for hackers to get into your PC, tablet, and mobile devices.
- Hackers generally use open hotspots to intercept communications between you and the connection point, so instead of interacting directly with the hotspots, you send your information to the hacker.
- It is always recommended to use a VPN (virtual private network) service, which creates a secured and private tunnel between your device and open hotspots.
1.5. Use Strong and Unique Passwords
A secured password helps to protect your personal information and eliminates the risk of cyberattacks during Black Friday or Cyber Monday.
- Selecting a strong password is the easiest way to protect your online shopping accounts, as it makes it difficult for cybercriminals to guess or force enter your details.
- You can select a strong password by choosing words or phases between 8 and 9 characters long with a combination of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
- To increase cybersecurity, you can use two-factor authentication (2FA) or multi-factor authentication (MFA), which stops cybercriminals from accessing your bank account details. Some standard methods of 2FA include sending a one-time code via email, phone, or SMS which provides more security.
Gone are those days when you had to stand in long queues to shop and get your billing processes done. Today, times have changed and the last few decades have witnessed a drastic change in the way we shop. Globally, we have entered the world of digitization, where everything from shopping to checking works on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), and you can get your package delivered to your home in just a few clicks.
For secure online shopping, you need to simply follow the above best practices that will make your shopping experience stress-free and smooth as butter.
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