There are two major annual holiday shopping events that will soon be upon us. These November days, “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday”, were traditionally established in the US, and mark the beginning of the festive shopping season. This excitement has now spread worldwide, encouraging global brands and retailers to get involved in offering discounts for the season.
According to analysis from Adobe, more than $3.34 billion was spent online on Black Friday alone last year, a rise of over 21% from the previous year. Tech products remain high priorities for those looking to get great deals on devices like tablets, smartphones and gaming consoles – not exactly simple stocking fillers!
With the heightened shopping activity also comes a rise of criminals trying to cash in on this abundance of transactions, and experts say online criminal activity at this time of year is expected. In fact, in 2016, ACI Worldwide predicted that online fraud attempts would rise by a shocking 43% during the holiday season.
To help keep you and your credit secure this season, we have compiled a list of 5 tips for staying safe online and for protecting your goods when they arrive at your doorstep:
- Seek out trusted web-stores.
Major well-known shopping websites could be overloaded for periods of time due to high volumes of users on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, and understandably this can be frustrating for consumers. Smaller and perhaps disreputable retailers often spend more on ads trying to lure you to their site with unbelievable offers.
There’s nothing wrong with shopping around, but try to stick to retailers you have heard of, or ones that have plenty of positive reviews. Better still, visit the manufacturer’s own website to find out what retailers they recommend.
- Pay with a credit card for extra protection.
Credit card protection gives you assurance that you can file a claim in instances of fraud, for example if a company has liquidated before you’ve received your products, or if a transaction is proven to be a scam. The great thing is that this isn’t an add-on offered by credit card companies, it’s a legal right in the majority of countries. Debit cards and bank transfers do not often offer the same protection and they draw directly from your account.
- Use strong passwords.
Of course, we should always be ensuring that our passwords are safe throughout the entire year. However, it is worth affirming the importance of your password security at this time due to the heightened risk.
Whenever possible, ensure that your passwords include both uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters such as @ # $ % ^ & * (and please, it’s time to just get rid of “password1234”!). Get Safe Online recommends that you use a line of a song that people would not associate with you, and of course, don’t use the same password for multiple sites.
4. Secure your Wi-Fi.
If you’re at the office or in a public place, you should remember that you are on a shared wireless network, and therefore your data may not be entirely secure. It’s always best to shop in the comfort of your own home on a private network… preferably on your sofa with a nice hot drink. Using a market leading router or WiFi system, like NETGEAR’s Orbi, will improve the security of your connection, as well as give you a blazing fast WiFi speeds for all your online shopping needs. With a secure network, you can rest easier knowing that you’ve done your best to keep the bad guys out!
- Keep an eye on your deliveries.
Staying safe online is important, yet your safety needn’t stop there. Monitoring the arrival of your deliveries is now easier than ever, thanks to online tracking and affordable smart home security.
Arlo security cameras, for example, are super easy to set up because the cameras are 100% wire-free and weather-resistant. They can be placed practically anywhere inside or outside your home and allow you to monitor what is happening straight away from your smartphone. To protect your purchases, we recommend placing a camera outside your front door, as this will allow you to make sure that your items don’t magically walk away. Plus, you’ll have the option of using the 2-way audio to talk directly to the delivery person with instructions on where to leave the packages. With the motion activated recordings, you will be notified if someone does happen to pick up your package and you will also have video to share when you file a report.
It’s no big surprise that the risk of attempted criminal activity will increase along with the rise in online shopping and home deliveries. But with just a few simple steps, tightening up on your own security and having peace of mind can be achieved easily, leaving you in a better place to find, and receive, that perfect deal. Now get online and find that deal!