The holidays are usually a favorite time of year for many people. They get to relax, share happy moments with friends and family members, and create new memories that’ll last forever. Also, in such times, people spread joy by giving back to the community and appreciating loved ones by gifting them. Besides that, a lot of individuals reward themselves during the holidays for all the things they’ve accomplished in the past year.
How To Shop Safely Online During The Holiday Season
Over the years, shopping in brick-and-mortar stores for the holidays has proven to be quite hectic. One must stand in long queues at the cash register, and some shops allow only a few people in at a time.
Today, there’s e-commerce. This trade has made purchasing anything easier for everyone, especially during the holidays. This is because people can shop online in the comfort of their own home, and they don’t have to wait in any sort of line. Also, e-commerce allows you to buy items from any corner of the world, so you have practically endless products to choose from. In addition, most online stores offer their customers holiday discounts, which is great considering that you’ll surely be making more purchases during the season.
If you’re looking to buy anything over the internet during the holiday period, you’ll enjoy the benefits mentioned above. However, experts advise that you should be careful, too. In their explanation, most of them suggest that since it’s a season where many people are shopping online, it’s also when cybercriminals take the most advantage of unsuspecting buyers. Therefore, you should practice certain safety measures when shopping on the internet to avoid being preyed on by hackers.
If you’re looking for ways to purchase items online safely over the holidays, here are some tips you can consider:
- Avoid Public Wi-Fi When Shopping
Public Wi-Fi networks may seem convenient, especially when you aren’t anywhere near your home or office. However, they can be dangerous, too. It’s because most aren’t secure and could be monitored and even easily hacked. Such networks can allow cybercriminals to access your emails, passwords, and other sensitive data.
Therefore, if you can avoid public Wi-Fi networks altogether when shopping online during the holiday season. Instead, use your own data or your phone’s hotspot.
If you have no choice but to use a public Wi-Fi network, utilize a virtual private network (VPN) service. This lets you use the internet available securely and anonymously by hiding your internet protocol (IP) address, so all your actions on the internet aren’t public. VPNs offer better security and privacy of the information you receive or send on the internet.
- Only Use Applications From Trusted Sources
Shopping via applications is undoubtedly convenient. Compared to websites, apps load faster and may be easier to navigate. Besides that, apps give users quick access to products. That said, not all shopping applications are secure.
Most cyber experts believe that malicious apps are usually on the rise during the holidays. These are primarily developed to spread malware intended to damage devices or expose and steal shoppers’ sensitive data.
Therefore, make sure you only download shopping applications from trusted sources to ensure the safety of your devices and personal information. Also, before downloading any app, check what other people say about it. This way, it’ll be easier to determine if it’s suspicious or dangerous to use it.
- Carefully Check A Link Before Clicking On It
Even before the holidays come around, you’ll likely receive enticing offers via text or email. You may also see various advertisements about discounts on your social media feed. However, before clicking on any link, inspect it thoroughly. This way, you’ll avoid opening sites purposely created to steal information from unsuspecting internet users.
If the offer seems too good to be true, open your browser and manually type the name of the company claiming to give huge discounts. After that, search to see if the firm exists and if the alleged giveaways are genuine.
- Use Your Credit Card
Credit cards are thought to be a safer payment option than debit cards. With the former, your data is more secure, and you’ll have less liability if it’s charged fraudulently or your information is compromised. Also, money drawn from the card is from your credit provider, not your own.
On the contrary, debit cards are directly linked to your bank account, and when shopping with them, you use money coming straight from your account. This means that the risk of financial loss is much higher if cybercriminals acquire your data.
It’s perfectly acceptable to buy gifts and other items online during the holiday season in order to escape long lines and avoid wasting time. However, cyber experts advise that you should take all the precautions possible. Since most people are usually shopping at this time, cybercrimes are often high.
In this article, you’ve learned about some safety tips to apply when shopping online. So if you’ll be purchasing products on the internet anytime within the holiday season, see to it that you follow them to a T. In doing so, you can keep not only your data but also your finances safe.