10 tips for safe holiday online shopping
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The holiday shopping season is back and in full swing – with bigger budgets and better savings. Retailers are offering BOGOs, bargains, and free shipping to herd hordes of shoppers to their stores and ecommerce sites.
In 2018, holiday spending reached $998.32 billion, $123.90 billion of which was spent online. As predicted, Cyber Monday was the most profitable online spending day in history with $7.87 billion in sales.
Forecasts for 2019 predict this to be the first-ever trillion-dollar holiday season – you read that right, TRILLION! Ecommerce is expected to rise 13.2% to $135.35 billion.
It’s no surprise that online shopping is continuing to grow in popularity. It’s hard to beat the convenience of buying gifts from the comfort of your own home. So, before you start browsing for deals, get cozy on your couch and check out this list of 10 tips to stay safe while you shop online:
1. Shop trusted names
Try sticking to sites of retailers you are familiar with or have shopped with before. Also, keep an eye out for misspellings in domain names and odd top-level domains (e.g. .net instead of .com). These often signify scam sites.
2. Beware of “too good to be true” deals
While scouring to find the cheapest price for an item, be cautious if a price seems too good to be true. Chances are, it probably is, and you’ve come across a site that’s just trying to collect your information.
3. Check that a site is secure
Take note of whether a site is secure or not by checking that it starts with https:// instead of http://.
4. Use strong passwords
If you’re making an account on a site, be sure to use a strong password and resist the urge to repeat passwords. Consider using a password manager to help you craft and store passwords in a secure way.
5. Don’t save your payment information
Saving your payment information can speed up the checkout process, but also makes your information vulnerable to things like credit card fraud. Take the extra minute to manually input your information. (As an extra bonus, this helps prevent impulse buying and overspending.)
6. Avoid public wi-fi
Public wi-fi hosts multiple privacy and security concerns, especially when online shopping and entering personal information. It’s much easier for identity thieves and other cybercriminals to get a hold of your information over this type of network.
7. Be wary of email scams
Many companies share their promotions with consumers via email. Emails contribute 27% to the holiday spending statistics during the peak of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. As you receive these emails, avoid opening ones from unknown senders/sellers. Questionable links and attachments can infect your device with viruses and malware.
8. Don’t overshare
If a website is asking for very personal details, this should be a red flag. There is no reason an online retailer needs information such as your social security number.
9. Check your bank statements
With apps and online banking, it’s easier than ever to check your bank transactions. Make sure your purchases match up with your bank statements and double check for fraudulent charges.
10. Protect your data
Go a step further to protect your data by installing privacy and security extensions, such as the Ghostery Browser Extension. Our extension helps protect you from online trackers that are trying to collect your information as you browse; and as an added bonus, it also helps speed up page loads.
Happy holiday shopping season everyone! May you find the best deals and have a safe online shopping experience.
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