In approximately three days, the madness of Black Friday will commence as shoppers rush and push their way through retail stores, trying to snag heavily discounted presents to put under the Christmas tree.
I, for one, find it more enjoyable to stay in my pajamas sipping on hot cocoa and ordering my gifts from the comfort of my own home. Although I must admit I’ve sneaked out to my local mall on occasion to have a soft pretzel and a good laugh as a spectator. Rage-induced shoppers bring me Christmas joy.
Anyway, if you plan to shop online during Black Friday or Cyber Monday, you’ll want to make sure your information stays safe and that you don’t wander onto an insecure website when making your purchases. Use the following 3 Black Friday online shopping tips in order to avoid scams this Christmas.
Scammers will use every outlet of social media and internet communication to deliver bogus Christmas offers. Unfortunately, email addresses and mobile numbers can easily be obtained by hackers and used to send fake discounts.
If you receive an email or text message from a new contact that’s not part of a service you signed up for, immediately attempt to validate the source. Look up information on the specific email address or phone number to determine whether it’s a legitimate company with a real offer available on their online store.
You may also see “special” offers on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter instructing you to click a link to get an item that’s been discounted 70% or more. Check the social media account to make sure it’s an authentic website before proceeding. Also, if the discount looks way too good, it’s more than likely a scam.
Although you may stumble upon a genuine online retailer that is offering a great deal, it’s recommended that you stick to sites such as Amazon, Target, Best Buy, and Walmart when possible. These online stores have better resources to help maintain a safe and secure shopping experience for their customers.
Chances are you’ll still need to check a smaller online retailer for a few gifts for those family members that are difficult to shop for. This is perfectly acceptable; you’ll just need to make sure the site is using HTTPS technology to ensure your shopping is secure. Look for the small padlock beside the web address. Also, look to see if these stores have social media sites and positive reviews.
With the increase of online hackers, companies such as Microsoft, Apple, and Google have stepped up their game when it comes to thwarting off online attacks. Before you dive into your online Black Friday shopping spree, make sure the device you are using is up to date with the latest security software.
If you usually ignore the software updates on your phone, tablet, or laptop computer, make sure you install the necessary updates for an extra layer of protection while shopping online. There’s a lot of effort that goes into keeping your information secure, so prioritize the software updates as soon as possible.