Cyber Monday, the start of the digital holiday shopalooza, has occupied its role for nearly 10 years – starting in 2005. Though it still trails brick-and-mortar shopping on Black Friday in popularity, Cyber Monday shoppers spend more! According to an AOL study in 2013, Cyber Monday shoppers spent an average of $468 versus $309 spent on Black Friday.
Another data point of interest: Cyber Monday is an increasingly popular shopping experience for Boomers. Nielsen research found the percent of customers aged 50-64 who visited online retail sites increased 20.5% and for age 65+ it was up 40% from 2011 to 2012.
In 2014 millions of consumers, and not just online shoppers, were affected by a series of major data breaches, along with malware, phishing, and identity theft. It’s enough to dampen the holiday shopping spirit. But there are ways to stay safe, shop online, and get the great deals offered on Cyber Monday.
Here are 10 tips to keep you safe when shopping online:
- Be aware. There are unbelievable deals on Cyber Monday and the weeks before Christmas. But if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is. Beware of suspicious online ads and even emails or social media messages that seem to come from friends promising free products or unheard of discounts.
- Be secure. Make sure you’re logged into a secure Wi-Fi. Shopping online in a public place could compromise your financial accounts and personal privacy. Anyone can download software that picks your credit card numbers off the airwaves. Wait until your home or on a secure network to do your shopping!
- Look for the https:// – The “s” stands for secure. Also look for a lock or similar icon to indicate you are on a safe site.
- Avoid malicious websites by shopping at well-known and trusted sites where you’ve shopped before. Keep in mind it’s possible for even legitimate sites to have been hijacked and to serve up malicious code to your computer. So make sure your online security software includes link-scanning technology. Such as our own AVG AntiVirus FREE
- Do your research. If a site is unknown to you, check it out with the Better Business Bureau to see if it is accredited by the group. The National Retail Federation’s CyberMonday.com also has a list of legitimate retailers offering Cyber Monday discounts.
- Always make sure that you have a unique username and password for each online account. And of course, make your password complicated! Use a mix of symbols and upper and lower case letters. Watch this video for more details:
- Keep your software up to date! As with any guide to online security, make sure that you’re operating system, browser and antivirus software are up to date.
- If you’re curious about an order, contact the retailer directly via their site or phone number. Many phishing scams come in the form of emails from Amazon, UPS, FedEx, or other large retailers. Don’t click on the link in the email, even if it looks legitimate.
- Use one dedicated email and credit card account. Preferably a card with a low limit. This makes it easy to detach and get your money back should your account or the retailer be compromised. Don’t use ATM or debit cards as you could temporarily lose access to cash in the event of theft.
- Take action immediately if you suspect identity theft! Contact your credit card company, your bank, all three credit-reporting agencies and the police.
Cyber Monday is a great way to get a jump on the holidays and avoid the crazy crowds of Black Friday. Just stay safe and enjoy!
November 25, 2014