It’s that time of year again! The months of November and December are extremely popular times for digital shopping. From Black Friday to Cyber Monday and all of the holiday deals afterwards, there is no shortage of online shopping during this time of year.
However, with a surge in online shopping comes a surge in potential cybersecurity issues as malicious individuals try to take advantages of shoppers during sales season.
If you want to avoid falling victim to these attacks, you need to take the necessary precautions to protect yourself from them. To learn exactly what you need to do, keep reading. We have the top tips that you need to know while you’re perusing the sales this year.
1. Invest in Antivirus Software
If you don’t already have some kind of antivirus software on your computer, now is the time to get it. The great thing is that many companies are offering their software at discounted rates right now while all of these sales are going on.
Do some investigating and figure out where you can get the best deal on antivirus software.
Make sure to get this software downloaded before you start giving out sensitive information like your credit card number and shipping address. You should also run a malware screen before you start, just to make sure that your computer isn’t already compromised from prior activity.
You should also contact your current internet provider and check if they have any deals regarding antivirus software. Oftentimes, internet providers and antivirus companies will make deals with one another, allowing their respective customers to save money on their products.
2. Check the Website Security
As you’re searching through every single website that you’ve chosen to shop from, you need to make sure that they’re secure. If a website is not secure, you should not be shopping there.
There are two quick and easy ways to find out if a website is secure or not:
- Look at the website’s address. A secure website will begin with “https” rather than “http.”
- Look to the left of the website’s address. If there’s a lock symbol there, the website is secure.
These two signs tell you that you’re using a secure site that isn’t likely to leak the information that you put into their system. You should never share personal information on a website that doesn’t have these two things. In fact, you shouldn’t ever use websites that aren’t secure.
For an example of a secure website, you can look at www.lenovo.com. You should notice both signs of security while perusing their sales.
Whether you’re sharing personal information or not, you should avoid non-secure websites. You could be picking up malware and other computer viruses through these websites.
3. Update the Browser You’re Using
Surprisingly, updating the browser that you’re using can help protect your computer and the information that you’re sharing with the website. Having an older version of a browser can make having updated security difficult.
Hackers and other malicious users will try to use your browser loopholes against you. By updating your browser, you’ll close some of these loopholes and make it more difficult for these malicious individuals to get your information.
Most browsers update themselves, but this is usually only if you have automatic updates indicated in your settings. No matter what browser you use, you should be able to access updates through the settings.
However, if you can’t find it, a quick Google search can help you find out how to update your browser.
We also suggest that you use a browser that protects your information and takes pride in its security. There is a wide range of secure browsers for you to choose from.
Once you’ve updated your browser, you’ve shielded yourself from potential harm. You can rest easier that all of your information is safe and secure.
Everyone knows that no one reads those long documents with tiny words that contain too much legal jargon. However, if you’re truly trying to protect yourself, you should take the time to read them.
For example, the company may collect the email address that you give them for correspondence purposes. They may save your shipping and payment information to make future purchases easier. They may even share your information with partner companies.
5. Go Through Past Reviews
Reviews can tell you everything and nothing about a company. For the purposes of holiday shopping, we’re hoping that the existing reviews on a company will give you a great deal of insight into what kind of business they are and how they handle their customers.
As you’re perusing through reviews, you should consider the timing of the review and the overall consensus of the company’s reviews. Don’t hone in on one customer’s complaint. You should address everyone’s collective comments in order to craft your opinion of a company.
We suggest that you focus most of your attention on the most recent reviews of the company. There could be new management, a new distribution center, or some other great change that could have completely turned the company around, making past poor reviews now invalid.
You should also be careful in assuming that bad reviews are always right. An isolated situation does not reflect the company as a whole. In fact, sometimes the problem isn’t with the company.
If a company doesn’t have many reviews or has zero reviews, you should approach with caution. This is normal for new products but not for older collections. Approach with caution, and – if you do like something from a company with no reviews – see if you can find a similar product elsewhere that has great reviews.
6. Keep All of Your Receipts
To be safe, you need to keep track of your receipts. If a product gets lost in the mail or never gets shipped out in the first place, you need to have proof that you paid for that product.
In fact, if you try to contact customer support, they will most likely ask for that proof of purchase. Without it, you’ll end up losing your money.
Luckily, companies that you’re buying from should send your receipts directly to the email that you provide. You can keep these in your inbox until the products arrive. This gives you a running list of the things that you’re waiting for and allows you to have a reminder of them each time you check your email.
If you feel like your inbox will spiral out of control with all of those emails, you can make a folder to keep these receipts. Just make sure that you’re keeping up with what orders should be coming in. If you wait a few months to address a missing order, you’re not likely to get much sympathy from the company you ordered from.
7. Review the Return Policy
For an added layer of protection while shopping, you should review the return policy. This will tell you what your options are if you end up not liking the product or discover that you’ve ordered or received the wrong thing.
If the companies that you’re looking at have a “no returns” policy, you should reconsider buying from them. Without the ability to return or exchange items, you could be stuck with the wrong product. This is not to mention that you’ve wasted your money in the process.
A solid return policy will only protect you in the end. Don’t assume that you’re going to end up with the right product, because you could end up hurting yourself in the end.
If a product you really love belongs to a company with a “no returns” policy, you should try to find a similar product elsewhere. It’s better to find a knockoff or a similar product than getting stuck behind a policy that is only meant to hurt you and help the company you’re buying from.
Finish Your Digital Shopping
Now that you’re equipped with the best digital shopping tips and tricks for this holiday season, you’re ready to run head-first into every sale there is. If you follow these seven tips, you’ll be set to enjoy your time shopping rather than worrying about being taken advantage of.
Remember to think about your safety and privacy first while you’re searching for sales and placing orders. Happy shopping!
To read more on topics like this, check out the Life Tips category