Black Friday is always a good occasion to indulge in lavish shopping and spoil yourself and your beloved ones with great gifts purchased at discount prices. However, this is also one of the most lucrative times of the year for scammers who take advantage of the online shopping frenzy to prey on people. Here are a few useful tips to stay safe while shopping online on Black Friday.
Check the Security Status of the Websites you Visit
Whether you purchase products from a specific website or simply look at its products, it’s always a good idea to check the security status of each virtual store you enter. You can literally do this in a second by simply looking at the address bar. The thing you should check is whether the URL appears as an HTTP or HTTPS address. The latter is a better option because it means that the website uses encryption methods to secure customer data. This means that all the information you use to create an account on that website (name, address, credit/debit card information, etc.) is protected against cybercriminal attacks.
Use Your Credit Card Instead of a Debit Card
Whether you lose money from a credit or debit card, it’s never a pleasant experience. Tracking and charging hackers for online fraud and data theft is not easy and many people never manage to recover the money they lose on eCommerce scams. However, what you can do to prevent unlawful people from accessing your finances is to use a card that has limited resources.
There are different ways to do this. For example, you can create a separate account just for online shopping and only transfer a limited amount of money there. Alternatively, you can and should only connect your credit card to e-Commerce platforms. This way, in the worst-case scenario, even if someone manages to hack your card, they will only be able to withdraw as much as you physically own. A debit card is less safe because you risk losing money you’ll have to repay in the future. Moreover, disputes involving debit cards are usually more difficult to solve.
Check the Store’s Contact Details
To steer clear of shady online stores, it’s also a good idea to check the company’s contact details. Normally, a legitimate business has a Contact or About Us page where you can see its physical address and contact details. You can use this information to check if the company is a real one by looking for public directories where businesses are registered. To quickly check the company’s phone number, you can use free reverse phone lookup sites. If you’ve come across a known scam, the website will let you know.
Be Skeptical When the Offer Seems too Good
Black Friday is all about getting some products for less than what they’re normally worth. However, no company losses money by offering huge discounts. Their purpose is simply to attract more customers, so you can’t expect to pay a few dollars for something that’s normally worth a few hundred.
Even if terrific Black Friday discounts lure you from every angle of the internet, remain cautious. Avoid those that simply seem too good to be true because a scam might hide behind them.
Keep Proof of Your Purchase
If you’re buying products from a reputable platform such as Amazon or eBay, you will see the details of your latest purchases on your account. However, smaller shops might not have such complex platforms that store a lot of information on past purchases. For this reason, it’s a good practice to save the email confirmation and electronic invoice you should receive after making the purchase. Also, you can make a screenshot of what you see right before and after you submit the order. This will be valuable proof later on if you don’t get the goods you’ve paid for.
Always Use 2-Factor Payment Methods
To make sure nobody accesses your bank account to make online payments with your money, enable 2-factor authentication. This way, even if someone manages to hack your bank account, it would be almost impossible to make an unauthorized payment unless they also hack your phone or email. 2-Factor authentication means confirming a bank transaction twice – once when you authorize it from the platform where you’re making the purchase and the second time by entering the unique verification code you get by phone or email.
Online shopping can and usually is a safe and convenient way to purchase goods, especially during promotional periods like Black Friday. However, there are also lots of fraudulent schemes you want to avoid by applying the tips above.
Post by Diamond Shield Management Korea.