With the UK expected to take almost 1 billion in online sales during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend*, we’re taking a quick look at how savvy shoppers can protect themselves from online fraudsters.
Look for the lock
All reputable sites will carry a padlock icon, typically this will appear to the left of the URL in the address bar or the status. HTTPS is now a standard requirement even on non-shopping sites, enough that Google Chrome flags any page without the extra S as “not secure”. This means the site is not encrypted, and your data will not be secure. Of course, this isn’t a complete failsafe, the padlock icon doesn’t guarantee the retailer itself is legitimate, it just simply means that the connection is secure. If in any doubt, exercise caution and look elsewhere for that bargain. And remember, if the padlock icon is not there, or the browser says not secure, then don’t use the site. Don’t enter any personal or payment details or create an account.
Put it on the plastic
Using a credit card or a PayPal account is the safest way to make an online payment. Using a debit card for online purchases is not advised, your debit card is closely linked to your bank account putting you at a much higher risk of someone stealing your information. With a credit card, when a fraudulent site or transaction is found, credit card companies will typically immediately reverse the charge and investigate the retailer, with debit cards you could be waiting weeks or even months for your bank to conduct an investigation and return your money.
Protect your passwords
This gets repeated time and time again, but if you use the same password or a variation of the same password for multiple sites you are leaving yourself wide open to fraudsters. Use a different password every time you register your details. Make your password difficult to crack using numbers and special characters (never your birthday) or use a password manager to create strong passwords for each of your accounts. You should also frequently update these passwords to further protect you online.
Careful what you click
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are major retail shopping events, so it’s no surprise that fraudulent activity also increases around this time. With retailers sending emails of offers and discounts it can be quite tricky to establish what’s real and what could be potentially a phishing email. The best rule of thumb is to not click on links at all. If you receive an email from a retailer you have shopped with before it’s worth checking their website for the same offer as most will mirror their offers in their online shop. Always do your research, if it seems too good to be true, it usually is!
Be careful what you share, retailers don’t need your birthday to complete your purchase, but fraudsters need it to steal your identity. There’s no real reason for a retailer to ever need your date of birth and whilst that offer of a 10% birthday gift might be appealing, you don’t need to use your actual birthday! When making online purchases it is advised that you share as little information as possible to just ensure that your purchase goes through.
At Ghost Enterprises our cybersecurity solutions are designed to protect your data, computers, servers, networks, and mobile devices from malware, viruses, unauthorised access from hackers and any other form of cyberattack. For more information on how to protect your business please contact our IT experts today.
– By Holly