Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas are the shopping highlights at the end of the year. And people do shop, in-store or online, and continue to be vulnerable to bargains, deals, aggressive discounts and holiday vouchers.
Seasonal shoppers are easily won over by online offers. A National Retail Federation survey revealed that, even though people are spending less money on average this year than in 2012, “four in 10 (42.1%) indicated they shopped online over the weekend, or approximately 59 million shoppers.”
Taking precautions to make secure payments and choose reliable suppliers can ensure a successful online shopping experience that is worth waiting all year for.
Here’s a short list of the things users need to know when shopping online:
- Use your phone’s or tablet’s 3G network to make purchases when you are on the go. Avoid buying anything while connected to a public Wi-Fi network. If you must, use a dedicated payment solution such as Bitdefender Safepay to securely connect to your bank account or e-payment website from an unencrypted hotspot.
- Say no to phishing. Especially around shopping holidays, scammers use discounts and coupons as bait to lure unwary users. They draw you in with look-alike shopping pages and trick you into disclosing credit-card details for products that will never reach your doorstep.
- Ignore spam messages. Don’t buy a product advertised via unsolicited e-mail messages. It is most likely a fake. It is better to ask friends for advice or check the legitimacy of an online shop on forums by simply googling it. Learn from other people’s experience.
- Choose only web shops with SSL certificates to confirm their identity. An URL starting with HTTPS and a padlock at the end should indicate you are on the right page.
- Shop from home. It is risky to buy things while at work, in a library, coffee shop, school lab or in an airport where computers are used by other persons as well. These systems can be monitored with surveillance mechanisms (i.e. keyloggers).
- Make sure you use an antivirus solution that can handle bogus advertisements and get rid of them for you. And always keep your browser, your software and your antivirus updated.
- Banker Trojans and rootkit-based malware are a real threat. These steal banking information, transactions or even log into your online bank accounts while laying low on your system.
- Run a 60-second QuickScan from here or a make full system scan with your favorite antivirus before the purchase. If you’re shopping from the family PC, use a secure browser such as SafePay to go through checkout with full confidence that your credentials and transactions are not being manipulated.