5 Tips for Safer Online Holiday Shopping

There’s no doubt that online shopping is convenient. Shoppers have access to an incredible selection of products and can easily comparison shop for the best quality and lowest prices. The online shopping experience is here to stay – the consumers have spoken!

With the convenience comes some risks, however, and while they shouldn’t deter shoppers from making online purchases, it’s wise to make sure you shop safely, and not become of victim of cybercrime. Here are 5 tips to help you shop safely.

1: Shop from your own device, from home

Don’t use public terminals for online shopping and avoid public wireless networks. You have no way of knowing what malware might be installed on a public machine or how secure a public wireless network is.

2: Always make sure your shopping connection is secure

The address to a shopping site should always be via a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) connection. How can you tell? Look at the address bar in your browser – the address should start with “https” instead of “http”.  Some browsers also have a little “lock” or “key” symbol that appears when you’re connected via SSL, but the “https” is the best way to be sure.

3: Try and stick to sites you already trust

It’s easy to get creative and find some unusual or special items via a search engine, but you’re generally better off shopping at sites you’re already familiar with. That doesn’t limit you to large chain stores – just businesses you already trust. Never shop at a site you found through an emailed link.

4: Keep your antivirus and anti-malware software up-to-date

Cybercriminals are always busy finding new ways to exploit vulnerabilities in PCs, tablets and phones – make sure you’re protected before shopping.

5: Use good judgment

Don’t let “shopping fever” cloud your judgment. Avoid buying anything – even something you want – from a site that looks “wrong” in any way. You should never give up any more information than necessary to complete the transaction. NEVER give your social security number. If you have to create an account on the site to purchase, use a strong password, and never use an emailed link to go to a site to shop. If a deal sounds too good to be true – chances are it’s NOT a real “deal”.

Cybercriminals (like most criminals) are always looking for the easy victims. Keeping these tips in mind can help you avoid being a victim! Clare Computer Solutions can help your company to protect your network – contact us today to get started!