Here's How to Shop Safe on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

On these two days, fraudsters target shoppers by bombarding them with emails, banner advertising and social media posts
Here's How to Shop Safe on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
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CISO | Security Researcher | Ethical hacker
3 min read
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Black Friday and Cyber Monday are approaching and it’s time to begin the shopping. However, the swirl of purchases and the data that they represent are observed by cybercriminals to make profit.

What are the risks?

On these two days, not only genuine retailers but fraudsters also get active. Fraudsters wait to target shoppers by bombarding them with emails, banner advertising and social media posts.

Customers must always make sure that sites where they make purchases are legitimate. They should keep an eye out for anything suspicious such as a request for login details or credit card numbers; at any point other than at checkout is likely to be a scam.

During Black Friday, there is also an increased risk of phishing. When you are using a personal computer, make sure that the system has an updated anti-malware software. Also check for indications such as a mismatched URL and confusing domain names in emails, even though it will be difficult to find these subtle differences.

What can I do to stay safe?

It is advised to do a few basic steps to reduce the risks of being targeted by cybercriminals.

Always be attentive and think about what you see: If you find any ‘unbelievable’ offers, it might be. Think before opening any emails received from unknown sender with tempting subject lines. Make sure not to reveal your personal information.

Use credit cards: Most of the credit card companies provide better fraud protection than debit card providers and also many of them do not make the cardholder liable for fraudulent purchases. Besides, also make use of PayPal which provides a dispute resolution service. If you are purchasing from the store, making cash purchases means your data won’t be processed on the shop’s point-of-sale system.

Use secure websites: Make online purchases only through legitimate and secure sites. Secure sites can be easily identified by the padlock symbol next to the URL, and/or the https at the start of the URL (instead of just http). These two signs indicate that the site is safe to use.

Monitor your financial statements. Even though you have taken all precautions, make it a practice to monitor your bank accounts. If you find any suspicious activity, you have to flag it to your payment provider, so that cards can be frozen and get the investigation started.

Need more information?

All retailers that accept card payments are legally required to comply with the PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) that provides a framework of best practices to ensure security of card details.

In addition, the EU General Data Protection Regulation serves to protect individuals’ personal data. Online retailers that capture, store and use personal data of consumers, must treat that data appropriately. Before making purchases, it is advisable to read the company’s privacy policy and terms and conditions so that you know what data will be stored and how it will be used.

Black Friday, sure has lots of deals that tempts humans to grab them. But watch carefully to avoid being a victim of cybercrime.

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