4 Ways to Stay Safe While Online Shopping

Laptop opened on bed with credit cards surrounding it

Shopping online? Here are 4 ways for you and your employees to stay protected against Cyber Criminals:

It’s November, which means it’s time for most of us to start our Christmas shopping!

ROI Revolution estimates that e-commerce sales will reach $236 billion this holiday season. While online sales peak around Thanksgiving and Christmas time, in 2021 over $2 billion a day was made in online purchases.

Indeed, you and your employees almost certainly make weekly online shopping purchases, both personally and for your business.

Cyber criminals are working overtime to capitalize on this to steal credit card numbers, logins and passwords and even yours and your customers’ banking information.

If you and your employees don’t practice these four rules to stay safer (notice I didn’t say safe) shopping online, you could be setting yourselves and your business up to become victims of identity theft, fraud, and more.

1. Don’t reuse passwords for log ins to websites.

If you use the same password across multiple sites, when one company’s records get breached (which happens every day), the criminal can now gain access to multiple accounts. So make sure you use different passwords for different sites. This does make things slightly more complicated for you, but it also makes it infinitely harder for cyber criminals. This is especially true across shopping websites- don’t EVER use the password for your bank on a retail website. To learn more about best password practices, click HERE.

black and red shopping backs in alternate orders2. Check the URL in the address bar always (not just when shopping).

One way to tell that a website is secure and safe to online shop on is that it either has a small lock symbol to the far left of the URL or “https” in the URL. If you see a lock that’s unlocked or just an “http,” the site is not secure – do NOT provide any credit card, payment or bank account information.

3. Don’t use a debit card to pay when online shopping – only use a credit card.

This way, if someone is able to access your account, you won’t lose what’s currently in your bank account. And most major credit cards have a ‘$50 or less’ liability policy if unauthorized charges are made, so it’s important to watch your statements. If you do feel you’re the victim of fraud, contact your credit card company immediately. If you don’t have a credit card, use a pre-paid debit card and ONLY keep the amount on it that you are planning on spending.

4. Be wary of texts or e-mails about package deliveries.

If you have something you’re tracking, go back to the site you originally purchased from to check notifications that way, or directly to the website of the carrier, and type in the tracking number there. Any links from an unknown sender could infect the device you’re on, which could expose you to viruses and malicious software. This particular scam is very prevalent during the holiday shopping season.

While there are plenty of cyber criminals happy to scam holiday shoppers, who they undoubtedly want are businesses because they have much deeper pockets and there are multiple ways they can cause havoc. Make sure you and your employees are following all the steps to help better protect yourself.

Click here to schedule a brief 10-minute call to discuss your situation, needs and concerns. If appropriate, we can conduct a simple security assessment for free to know for sure if your network and data is safe.