Shop Smart and Stay Safe This Holiday Season

The holiday season is the busiest online shopping season of the year, and it’s not hard to see why. Retailers tend to have some of their best deals and deepest discounts around the holiday season, especially on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In fact, Black Friday weekend takes the top spot for the busiest shopping days of the year according to Forbes. While it’s easy to get caught up in the great deals this time of year, it is so important to stay vigilant and protect your personal information — especially when shopping online. Just in time for Black Friday, here are a few tips to keep in mind to help you keep your personal data safe while shopping online.

Do not use a public Internet connection. When shopping online, be sure to only use a secure, personal Wi-Fi connection. Avoid shopping while connected to public networks, such as those available at coffee shops or libraries. Cybercriminals can easily tap into these unsecured networks and gain the opportunity to access your personal information. Only shop on a safe connection that you trust!

Only shop on secure, reputable websites. If you come across a fantastic deal on a website that you’ve never heard of, chances are it may be too good to be true. Scam websites attempt to entice shoppers with deals that can seem too good to be true, and then use the opportunity to steal their personal information. Often, these suspicious-looking websites don’t even have a product to sell. Keep an eye out for details such as, “https://” at the beginning of the URL, which can add to the legitimacy and security of the website. Stick with familiar brands and trusted online stores — and when in doubt, close out!

Use a credit card or payment service rather than a debit card. When shopping online, it can be beneficial to use a credit card or a payment service like PayPal when you pay during check out. These options both offer some protection in the event of fraud. Also, these methods are not linked directly to your bank account like your debit card is. Avoid making online purchases with a debit card when possible, to make sure your money is kept safe!

Don’t open emails or offers from senders you don’t recognize. Scammers can take advantage of online shoppers right from their email inboxes. Scammers often impersonate companies (known as spoofing) to entice shoppers with offers or try to redirect them to another website through links. It’s best to not open an email you don’t recognize. When in doubt, check the sender’s email address to see if anything looks suspicious. Whatever you do, don’t click on any unfamiliar links as these can instantly download viruses or malware to your device.

Keep your software updated. Completing regular updates on your devices is very important because it helps protect you from vulnerability. Cybercriminals can discover exploits into your software over time, which puts your security in danger. Companies usually release updates regularly to patch these exploits to help keep you safe. Don’t skip on that software update before doing your holiday shopping!

We hope you find great gifts and awesome deals this holiday season — It truly is the most wonderful time of the year, and we hope that by shopping smart and taking steps to help keep your personal information safe, you have a wonderful season.

Happy holiday shopping from all of us at Cumberland Connect!


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