6 Tips for Online Holiday Shopping

By Mike Tullis

For many people, Thanksgiving means spending time with family and friends gathered around the dinner table. While this may look slightly different this year due to Covid-19, it is the holidays that fall the days after Thanksgiving – Black Friday and Cyber Monday - that changed the most this year. Much like everything else from the past eight months, many companies have taken their deals virtual this year. This means that the two largest shopping days of the year are happening predominately online, leaving room for scammers to access your confidential information. Follow these tips to stay safe this holiday shopping season:

  1. Think Before Clicking – This is one of the most important cyber-security tips at any point in the year. However, with every company sending emails to their subscribers proclaiming the best holiday deals and receipts of purchases made, be hesitant on what links you click on. When in doubt, check the status of your order or the advertisement for the deal you’re looking at directly on the company website.
  2. Update Your Devices – Make sure your computer, smartphone, and any other device you are making purchases from is updated. This helps that you have the latest security patches and can make it harder for cyber-criminals to target you.
  3. Only Use Trusted Wifi Signals – It may be tempting to hop on the closest Wifi signal to make a quick purchase on a deal that was just released. However, doing so, may make it easier for your information to be compromised. Even if you are not entering or checking any banking information, networks that don’t require a password can open the door for hackers to access your sensitive information.
  4. Be Creative When You Make Passwords – We’ve all heard it before, but using the same password across multiple accounts makes it much easier for hackers to access your information. Take the time to update your passwords to make them strong (over 8 characters, capital and lower-case letters, number, special characters, etc.). If you struggle to remember all your passwords, consider using a password manager such as Lastpass, 1password, or Dashlane.
  5. Monitor Your Accounts – The easiest way to make sure extra money isn’t missing is to regularly check your online banking accounts. You should notify your bank immediately if you see any transactions that you did not make.
  6. Be Aware of ‘Too Good To Be True’ Deals – While Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals are often the best prices you will find all year, cyber hackers will often promote deals that are too good to be true in attempt to lure people into clicking the malicious link or promotion.

Shopping online this year is a great way to keep yourself and others around you safe during the Covid-19 pandemic, but as always, be cautious when sharing personal information online – now and throughout the year.

Mike Tullis | System Administrator