8 Cyber Week Shopping Tips

8 Cyber Week Shopping Tips

Cyber Week is coming up! How can you stay safe while you shop? Here are eight Cyber Week shopping tips to relieve stress and keep you protected against cybercriminals.

1) Get Ready in Advance

Many mistakes are made because people try to take advantage of deals under a time crunch. Make a plan for what you need, how much you intend to spend, and scope out where you're going to look for your gifts. Then, set aside time for shopping in advance, so you're in a much better position to make good decisions and avoid scams. Not being in a rush also makes you less likely to accidentally click on a flashy ad with a too-good-to-be-true snow boots sale that ends with your money lost or your computer infected. And speaking of computer infection...

2) Make Sure Your Computer Has Anti-Virus Software

Something else you can do beforehand is to ensure your anti-virus or anti-malware software is up to date. Hackers have good technology, but so do computer protection software companies. Keep yourself from being an easy target and give yourself peace of mind with an extra layer of defense this Cyber Week.

3) Use a Protected or Private Internet Connection

Another part of your plan should be where you'll shop and which internet connection you'll use. If you're on a public network or an open wifi connection, you're at a higher risk of being vulnerable to cybercriminals. Arrange your schedule so you're at home using your private internet connection to find those waffle shirts you've been eyeing. Alternatively, if you're on a break at work and are allowed to use the company's network for shopping, you may find that a good option, too. The idea is to be intentional.

4) Focus on Known and Trusted Retailers and Companies

If you've never heard of the company sending you a particular email about Christmas quilts or pushing an adorable cashmere sweater ad, there should be a red flag in your mind. While it's good to discover new places to shop, Cyber Week is not a good time to go outside the known. Cybercriminals use your innocent click as a doorway into your computer and network. Don't give them the opportunity! Research new companies in advance or stick with well-known brands.

5) Use Stores' Actual Websites and Apps

As you're using those well-known brands, make sure to double-check that the website you're clicking on is actually "landsend.com." Sometimes hackers use a similar but not quite right address to fool you. Look at the address bar in your browser just to be sure. It's also a good idea not to use search engines since those results depend on algorithms that could be manipulated. Instead, go straight to the company website or retailers like Amazon and use their searches to find what you want, like family Christmas pajamas.

6) Use Credit Cards

Instead of entering a debit card this year, consider using a credit card. While it's possible to spend money you don't have on a credit card, credit cards do usually have a better fraud protection policy and purchase cancellations. You can also check your bank and credit card statements regularly over the next few weeks to ensure all purchases are ones you and your family have made. To avoid overspending, focus on your budget during your planning session. See what you want to get and how much it will likely cost you. Keep those numbers taped to your computer and note down what you actually end up getting so you stay within your limits.

7) Create Unique Logins...Or Don't Login

Stealing passwords is another easy way for hackers to get access to your accounts and any card you might have saved on your file. Sometimes this can be a request from an official-looking email; sometimes it's a peek over your should while you're logging in to a website on a crowded elevator. Most people can only remember a few passwords which means we tend to use the same passwords for everything. Even if someone catches the login for an apparently unrelated app or website, think which other websites you use that have that same password. To be safe, use a password lock box or create unique logins for Cyber Week. Another great idea is not to log in at all if you can. Use a guest account as you checkout and buy those slippers so the website won't save any of your information.

8) Don't Download Anything

Downloading something from the internet can be dangerous. You should be very careful about downloading apps or anything else around Cyber Week. Once you've accepted malware on to your phone or computer, it's difficult to get it off without any consequences, even if it just means you have to leave it with a fixer for a few days.

With all of these tips, you should have a safe Cyber Week! Happy Shopping!


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