With great spending comes great scamming. With over £2billion to be spent by online shoppers, cyber sharks are bound to attack. Fraud, viruses, phishing, scams and other malicious things may lure you in so you better be careful.
What are Common Cyber Monday Scams?
The internet is a place where theft is much easier than in real life. Hackers, scammers and other sorts of evil doers lurk everywhere. More and more sites produce super secure pages but you still have to be in the lookout for threats and fraud that may try to take your money or information.
1. Fly by night sites – Shopping through third party sites that look dubious and offer greater deals than the mother site maybe suspicious.
2. Social Media Scams – A lot of people will say they know someone from somewhere and that they can offer you much greater discounts. They can give you malicious links here and there in Facebook groups on in twitter. Clicking on them may not pose a threat just yet as long as you don’t key in your credit card details
Social media surveys that show you fun stuff like “What is your real profession – Oh you’re a model” kind of ploys can try to download your IP address and add directories on your page.
3. Suspicious emails – Before Cyber Monday, try to clean up your email subscription to the sites you really want to get newsletter from. If you subscribe to spammy pages then you can expect loads of spam on your email. A lot of these spam emails may contain phishing links that try to get your personal data.
4. Pop ups – Don’t forget to install a popup blocker. If you are using the latest of Windows 8 and Windows 10 you will normally have Windows Defender which can stop pop-ups from going into your screen.
A lot of pop-ups show online sweeptakes or coupons that may try to ask you for your email which may lead to phishing.
Take a look at this post for more details of Cyber Monday and Black Friday scams
How to Avoid Being Scammed?
Avoiding scams is your top priority aside from buying all those clothes, shoes and nice shiny things on Cyber Monday. You need to be armed and ready so that no gets access to your credit card information.
1. Shop directly – Don’t shop via third party pages. You can go to review sites and click links there but make sure THAT THEY LAND TO THE CORRECT HOMEPAGE of the product you like.
Don’t just Google and shop anywhere. Make sure the site is trusted.
2. Install WOT extension – WOT stands for Website of Trust. It is a very easy extention to install. All you need to do is to go to Google or Firefox, search for WOT and then click on add extension. Here is the link for Chrome users
Once the extension is added, you will see a green button beside a web address once it is displayed anywhere online, be it a search engine, social media site or the site itself. If the site is malicous, a WOT pop up will appear telling you that the site is dangerous and that you should proceed with caution
GREEN – SAFE
YELLOW – Somewhat safe
RED – AVOID THIS SITE
3. Never ever use your debit card or savings account information – Never ever use your debit card since if this number is stolen, hackers can have infinite access to your payroll or savings. Use your paypal account or credit card number. This protects you from unwanted purchases. Most credit card companies employs strict rules on online purchases and thus fraud can be avoided.
4. Check for security certificates and icons – Pages should be secure before you purchase from them. Verisign and Norton certificates are good indicators that the site uses encryption and that your data won’t be stolen.
You also need to check if the page has a padlock icon to the left of the URL to make sure that the page is PRIVATE. This ensures that that your information is not shared on a public server which is normally used by cheap fly by night sites.
5. Never shop on public networks or public wifi – I know you may be tempted to do your shopping online while you are in a coffee shop or a computer shop or anywhere where there is free internet, but this can be hazardous to your credit card’s safety. There are more attacks on Cyber Mondays in public networks than on other days.
6. Update your computer’s security – If you are a Mac user, good for you as most viruses and malware are developed for windows.
But if you are using a PC, better install an anti spyware, antivirus or an anti-malware program. Windows Defender comes free with a purchase of a Windows 10 PC or laptop which can really detect and quarantine malware.
Avast (free), AVG (free) Norton and Kaspersky and a host of other anti-virus programs can protect you from several threats too.
Remember, it is up to you to keep your credit card and identity safe online! Enjoy your shopping