Cyber Monday 2021 will fall on November 29th. The sales event, which began in 2005 and follows Black Friday, now welcomes about 174 million shoppers a year. With the increase in shoppers each year, there has also been an increase in online scams. In fact, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has sent a press release warning Americans that hackers are targeting them with “One Day Only” promotions. The release, originally intended for the state of Arkansas, goes on to state that anyone shopping in the United States should be wary.
Tips to help shoppers stay safe on Cyber Monday
Install Anti-Malware Software
This type of attack known as ‘malvertising’ occurs when a hacker inserts a malicious advertisement into an established ad network. When the shopper unwittingly clicks on the false advertisement, which can look like it belongs to a well-known shop or website, the attacker is able to install malware into their computer browser. Through the malware, they can then steal passwords, credit card numbers, and other information the user types into their computer. TechRadar.com compiles lists of the best free and paid anti-malware services, but an individual may also ask a trusted friend or business associate what anti-malware they use to find the best one to install on their computer.
Use A Secure Computer
Cell phones are vulnerable devices, as they most likely are not equipped with the best antivirus software, if at all. A computer with antivirus software, using a secure internet connection, is a Cyber Monday shopper’s best friend. For added security, an individual should always look at the web address and ensure that it begins with an “https” preceded by a lock symbol. This will ensure that a shopper is purchasing on a secure line.
Shop On Retailer Sites
Instead of using a search engine to find the best deals, shoppers should go directly to a retailer’s website to find the best deals. An individual may also open several secure web pages to compare prices across trusted sites. When a shopper uses an internet search engine, a malicious link may show up as one of the result options, and may even look like a link that directs the shopper to a known retailer. It is not until a person clicks on the link that they discover that it is not the shop they were looking for, but by then it’s already too late.
Carefully Double-Check The URL
Scammers will often clone a known retailer’s website, creating a URL address that may only be a couple of characters different. To ensure that they are actually on the real store’s website, a shopper should double and maybe triple check the web address before entering any credit card information.
Beware of Other Unsolicited Messages
Cloning pages and malicious links aren’t the only way cybercriminals try to steal shoppers’ information. Hackers have also been known to send text messages, social media posts, pop-ups, and emails to get unknowing shoppers to click. An individual should consider who is sending or creating the message, and always be wary of fantastical and too-good-to-be-true deals.
Review Bank Statements
With increased shopping during the holiday season, individuals should check their billing statements more often than they would during any other time of the year. A shopper should read each statement line by line to ensure that each purchase was indeed made by them. For added security, shoppers should always use a credit card instead of a debit card when making purchases online. Credit cards often have far better fraud protection than debit cards. As part of their fraud protection services, a credit card company will often call a client if they witness any unusual spending within moments that the purchases occur.
Use Unique Passwords or Refrain From Creating An Account
When shopping online, retailers will often ask a shopper to create an account. Creating an account is never necessary, but if a shopper decides that they do want to create one, then the passwords used to save the account should always be unique and not reused on other websites. Passwords that are used to store personal information, like a bank account, should never be compromised.
These are just a few tips to keep you and your family safe while shopping on Cyber Monday, but as technology advances, so do cyber attacks. It is important to always remain vigilant when making purchases and ensure that you are always taking the proper precautions.
At Panter, Panter, and Sampedro, a leading personal injury law firm, we’ve been protecting Florida’s families for over thirty years. We hope you have a safe shopping holiday and a very Happy Thanksgiving.