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Online Holiday Shopping Safety

Online Holiday Shopping Safety

With the major holiday shopping season about to go into full swing next weekend, I wanted to make sure all our fans here on LawEnforcement.Social were safe from the dangers of online shopping.

Studies show that more people are using mobile devices to conduct their shopping. In fact, statistics show 50 percent of shoppers are likely to use their mobile device to conduct some kind of transaction this holiday season.  Whether its researching a product, ordering online from a retail chain or application, to paying for that merchandise via banking applications or Near Field Technology (NFC).   This also means an increased liklihood of users connecting to public WiFi hotspots to save on that data plan.   So here are my five simple safety tips for online shopping this holiday season.

1. Ensure your system (mobile device) is up to date

This means ensuring that your desktop computer or mobile device has all the latest security updates installed. This includes operating system updates and anti-virus and anti-malware software updates.  

2. Only shop trusted websites

This might seem easy enough, but it is not that hard for a cyber criminal to “spoof” a website. You can do a few things to ensure that the site is authentic. Type the address into the search bar at the top of your browser yourself.  Don’t rely on hyperlinks that may have been emailed to you from an unknown source.  Once on the site, check to make sure it is secure, with either “HTTPS” in the URL or an image of a padlock. That is also #5.  Do not respond to emails claiming to be from shopping sites asking you to verify your password.  They will never do this unless you initiate as password reset request.   

3. Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware Installed.

Take the time to install reputable anti-virus and anti-malware software on your system.  There are several free platforms out there, particularly AVG Free and Avast. Remember, just because it costs doesn’t mean its the best.  Do a little research to find the one that works best for you. Android user; don’t forget to install anti-virus software on your mobile devices as well.  

4. Use disposable credit cards.

You see these all the time in the check out counters. Reloadable or one-time use credit cards. These are particularly great for purchasing items online.  They can often times be purchased with cash and are not linked to you banking account.  So in the event a cyber criminal gets a hold of the credit card information, they don’t also get the keys to your banking castle.  

If you own credit cards with purchase protection, then this may not be an option for you, but it is definitely and option to consider.  

I particularly like to shop with Bitcoin during the holiday season.  It is extremely secure and several retailers are starting to accept Bitcoins at purchase.  

5. Use secure sites

This includes websites with a closed padlock on your web browser’s address bar or a URL address that begins with shttp or https. This indicates that the purchase is encrypted or secured. For new sites, you can always check online reviews.   

This is just a short list of 5 best safety tips but in the end, you have to be a super savvy safe shopper during the holiday season.  This means knowing your device, it’s settings, and level of security.  

Let me know in the comments what you think can be added.  Again, in the interest of keeping the posting short in concise, I included just some of the most important security components. Let me hear your suggestions.   

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