How to safely shop online?

It’s not a secret about 70% of the adult US population shops online regularly. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday right around the corner tens of millions of people are preparing to get a bang for their buck. The deals are usually so good even people sceptical about online shopping, and without much experience, may feel tempted to participate in the online frenzy. Last year consumers spent more than $3 billion on Cyber Monday alone. The previous record was in 2015 when they spent “only” $2.75 billion.

Our economy seems stable right now, with that in mind we are pretty sure the deal-hungry buyers will beat last years’ numbers. There is nothing wrong with taking advantage of the great deals, as long as you do it safely. Panda Security has been combating cybercrime for more than 25 years and we can surely tell you a thing or two about how to safely shop online around the holidays.

Top 10 tips of how to safely shop online

Beware of phishing

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, you will begin receiving tons of email newsletters offering you great deals. We do not advise you click on the ones you are not familiar with. Try to stick to the ones you know, and if you don’t know the company that is approaching you, research them online before opening the emails you’ve received from them.

Do research

We know that the deals around Thanksgiving are amazing but sometimes when something is too good to be true, it’s either fraudulent or a scam. Don’t be fooled by the Cyber Monday label, products still cost what they cost if the deal is too good to be true that’s probably because it’s not true. If you are in doubt, simply google the product and see if anyone else offers it for the same price. You may end up getting an even better deal!

Don’t be scared to buy from the ‘usual suspects’

Try to do your online shopping from websites and online retailers that you recognize and you have shopped from before. You shouldn’t worry much if you place an order with a well-known supplies superstore such as Home Depot for example.

Check the URLs

While you surf online you may get so excited by the good deals you’ve found that you may end up on a spoof website. If you are in doubt, check the URL link. If it feels awkward close the browser, open a search engine, type the name of the retailer you are trying to reach and place the order through the real website. Better safe than sorry!

Read the file product description as well as the terms and conditions

Sometimes it may seem as if you are buying a brand new device but you may end up getting a refurbished or reconditioned one. The fact that the deal is great, does not mean that the product will be great too. Always take your time to review the terms and conditions, warranty, insurance options, the return policy and the location of the product you are trying to purchase.

Do not use the debit card for your checking account

It may be tempting to pay directly from your checking account but checking accounts have less protection and it will be much harder for you to get your money back if you end up scammed by a phony website. Even if you have the money available in your checking account, better not share your debit card details with the world unless absolutely necessary. Put those expenses on your credit card statement instead!

Verify your order

It is not uncommon for consumer to select more than one item by mistake, or they put the wrong house number, or they check a shipping option that does not work for their needs. This is why we advise you to always double check the order before you make a payment. A few extra seconds won’t waste your day. You don’t want to buy a Christmas gift a week before Christmas to later find out that it ships from China in 3 weeks’ time.

Make sure the site is safe

Don’t buy anything online from a site that does not have SSL encryption. You will know if a site has SSL encryption if the URL starts with HTTPS:// (instead of just HTTP://).

Use antivirus software

It may sound trivial when you hear it from us, but staying protected is really important. Don’t wait until Thanksgiving to get protection. We’ve been combating cybercrime for nearly 3 decades, we can help you and your family stay safe around the holidays.

Use common sense

Last but not least, if you see a website that looks suspicious, just don’t order from there. There’s plenty of fish in the sea – you will find the same offer somewhere else. There is nothing wrong with calling the company directly during business hours to check their legitimacy. Remain vigilant, don’t just give away your hard earned cash!

Every year we spend billions of dollars around Thanksgiving and hackers are preying on us trying to get our card details, trying to steal our identity and personal information. Don’t let them ruin your holiday by simply following the suggestions listed above.

Happy shopping!