How to Stay Safe When Shopping Online | #phishing | #scams


Is there anything it’s impossible to buy on the internet these days? From furniture to fine jewelry, the pandemic has transformed the way we purchase — and pay for — just about everything.

Mostly, this is a promising trend. The explosion of e-commerce has helped keep many small businesses afloat these past two years. Plus, it’s hard to argue with the convenience of buying groceries, beauty products, and household supplies online.

E-commerce is also now the most popular way people prepare for the holidays. One recent study found that more than half of UK consumers plan to rely exclusively on online shopping for their holiday gift-giving this year.

But as with most online trends, a rise in popularity also means a surge in cybercrime. Unfortunately, shopping-centric “holidays” like Black Friday and Cyber Week bring internet users more than just exciting deals.

Recent research by Bitdefender found that spam emails skyrocket during the holidays. Popular scams include phishing schemes disguised as too-good-to-be-true “deals,” like 85% off brand-name sunglasses or ultra-cheap airline tickets. When users click the fraudulent links and hit “add to cart” expecting to score serious savings, they instead unknowingly send sensitive information like credit card details directly into the hands of hackers.

Here are a few ways to keep your data secure when shopping online this season and beyond.

Prioritise mobile security

More than two-thirds (66.7%) of UK shoppers opt to browse and buy using their mobile devices, according to Statista. So it’s no surprise that mobile scams are particularly prevalent.

But it is surprising how few people have protections in place to guard against such schemes. Bitdefender found that many consumers are woefully under-protected when shopping on their smartphones and tablets: nearly 30% of users don’t have security protection on their primary mobile devices. More than half ignore standard cybersecurity recommendations for strong passwords. What’s more, nearly one-third (30%) of respondents said they share their online shopping accounts not only with immediate family, but also with housemates or friends.

Avoiding this type of risky behavior — and ensuring you’ve got mobile cybersecurity in place for your Android or iOS devices — is one way to protect yourself.

Be a savvy online shopper

There are a few warning signs that a site or deal might be less than scrupulous. Be sure to shop only from secure websites (those with an https:// URL), and never enter credit card details on a site if you’re accessing it from a public WiFi network without the use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

You should also create a completely unique login (username and password) for every site where you shop — and if you find it tedious to keep track of all those credentials, consider a password-keeper platform.

Be wary of clicking on images or links from promotional emails. Abide by the golden rule of cybersecurity: if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you get a message about an eye-popping discount, try to google the offer to be sure it’s legitimate, or visit the brand’s site directly and see if they’re promoting the deal outside of email or text marketing.

Lastly, keep a close eye on your credit card and bank accounts in case of unexpected charges. You can often set up alerts with your financial institution to flag purchases over a certain limit.

Find an all-in-one, set-it-and-forget-it solution

Regardless of how you plan to deck the halls this season, you’ll want to have cybersecurity protections in place to ensure no Bad Santas can gain entry. Bitdefender Total Security is a one-stop shop for all your cybersecurity needs any time of year. (And if you’re looking for a last-minute gift for the techie who has it all, it’s also the gift that keeps on giving — all year long.)

Bitdefender offers a robust suite of tools to protect yourself. Learn more about their product offerings and services.



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