6 Cyber Monday Safety Tips to Use All Year Long

2020 marks the 15th anniversary of Cyber Monday. The name was created in 2005 to describe the spike in ecommerce sales on the Monday after Thanksgiving. The National Retail Federation theorized that it happened because people were making purchases from their work computers, where their Internet was faster, and so their kids couldn’t see what they were buying.

With 2020 Black Friday sales shifting to extended online deals, the spike in Cyber Monday ecommerce shopping might not be as dramatic this year, but it’s certain that people will be doing more online shopping this holiday season. Deloitte is forecasting that online holiday sales will grow by 25% to 35% compared to 2019.

Here are some Cyber Monday safety tips that can also be applied to your everyday online activities at work and home to be cybersafe all year long.

Beware of scams and phishing attempts

Phishing attempts are running rampant this year, so never click on a link in an email or text, or on social media, and avoid popups and ads because you could unknowingly download malicious software. Also, never respond to an email asking you to “verify” your information. This applies to both work and home online usage.

If you receive emails advertising unbelievable deals and sales, always follow the “if it sounds too good to be true…” rule. For Cyber Monday, search for sales on retailer websites, not on search engines, because scammers will sometimes appear in search engines as legitimate businesses with links to fake webpages that steal your information.

Always look for HTTPS

Never enter a credit card number or personal information on a website without making sure that the URL in your browser starts with HTTPS and not HTTP. There may also be a lock icon next to the URL. These indicators mean that your session is secure and that the site uses encryption to protect your data.

This security protocol is known as SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer encryption, and it encrypts your data, so it is not visible to hackers.

Use strong passwords

At work and home, always use strong passwords. Avoid using real words and personal information in your passwords and use a different password for each website, changing them often.

Use alternative payment methods

When making online purchases, or paying for recurring business expenses, consider using alternative payment methods such as PayPal, Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, Bitcoin, or Venmo. This allows you to keep your credit card information hidden from the website, adding to your protection.

If your business runs an ecommerce site, or has an online transaction portal, consider adding alternative payment methods to increase your customers’ sense of comfort when using it.

Be very careful on public Wi-Fi (or avoid it altogether)

Public Wi-Fi connections are usually unencrypted and unsecured which allows hackers to see your private information, such as your browsing activities, logins and passwords, and your transactions. If possible, use a VPN on public Wi-Fi.

Be vigilant with your credit card statements

Always make sure that no questionable charges or transactions appear on your business or personal credit card or debit card statements. As soon as a suspicious charge appears, dispute it immediately.

These Cyber Monday shopping tips can be used all year long because being careful and vigilant at work, and at home, can keep you safer and more secure online.

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