8 Tips for Shopping Safely on Black Friday 2022
Black Friday and Cyber Monday have truly gone global. Holiday shoppers know it’s when the best deals are found online, with huge discounts from retailers ready to start shipping gifts all over the world.
It’s also the time hackers and scammers come out of hiding, ready to steal credit cards and other financial information from the people buying presents for their loved ones.
Before you start scoring those deals, read these online safety tips from the cyber security experts at Cyrus, and you can shop safely without any additional stress.
Tip 1: Always shop on private WiFi
Avoid public WiFi. The kinds of free no-password WiFi offered at coffee shops at airports can easily expose you to hackers, and lead to your information being vacuumed up.
Instead, if you need to connect a laptop or tablet in public, use your phone as a personal hotspot. This is a much more private and secure network than public WiFi, and will keep you safe from hackers scanning the airwaves.
Remember: the best way to shop online is using your secure WiFi network at home.
[include screenshot of unsafe public wifi warning]
Tip 2: Enable 2FA, & create strong, unique passwords
Make sure you’re the only one using your account. Use strong, unique passwords across your different accounts so hackers can’t break into everything if one password is leaked.
Even better, enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) to create multiple levels of verification for logging into your most sensitive accounts. According to Google, 2FA can block 100% of automated bot attacks and 99% of phishing attacks, automatically.
With strong, unique passwords and 2FA, hackers won’t be able to use any leaked information across your accounts. Read more in our guide to passwords.
Tip 3: Look for the Lock
Shop only on secure online stores, and beware of copycat websites.
Official websites for retail brands are a safer bet for purchases online, as they will almost always have SSL Encryption enabled on their website.
Look in your browser’s address bar for the lock icon (🔒), or make sure the URL begins with ‘HTTPS’ to indicate this extra layer of security. Don’t shop without it.
[insert image of the lock one might find in a browser]
Tip 4: Only buy gift cards directly from brands or trustworthy sites
There have been increasing reports of fraud from disreputable online gift card marketplaces, promising remarkable deals and discounts that seem too good to be true.
We highly recommend you only purchase gift cards directly from a brand’s official website or mobile app, or from reputable sites such as Amazon, Best Buy, or Target.
If a deal is too good to be true, there’s a good chance it is.
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Tip 5: Set up automatic fraud monitoring
Big retailers and major websites are breached surprisingly often.
By downloading an automated fraud monitoring service like Cyrus, you’ll eliminate the need to constantly watch your own account activity for suspicious activity.
Cyrus cybersecurity experts will handle the task of monitoring your financial accounts, alerting you immediately any time something seems off—and will then help you get back on track as quickly, and safely as possible. Sign up for personalized protection today.
Tip 6: Purchase items using Apple Pay or Google Pay
The rise of encrypted digital payment platforms such as Apple Pay and Google Pay has actually been extremely beneficial for keeping shoppers secure online.
Since they require biometric authentication—such as TouchID, or FaceID—they are much more secure than simply swiping a credit card, which can be stolen or glanced at.
Your phone is your best authenticator. Keep your devices safe with Cyrus.
Tip 7: Don’t fall for email scams or copycat websites
While you may think email phishing scams only target the elderly, these types of attacks are increasingly sophisticated, successfully targeting even the most tech-savvy among us—and attacks are growing in numbers every year.
A good rule of thumb is to avoid clicking suspicious email offers or ads. These can be phishing scams that lead to fake websites designed to trick you into sharing your data.
These sites can appear like legitimate online shops, but may offer merchandise at suspiciously low prices. They can be promoted through social media or email ads and lead you to these copycat websites—but fortunately there are signs to look out for:
- Different URLs than the official brand site (such as a .net instead of a .com)
- Alternate or uncommon checkout payment options
- Similar logos or images, but low resolution, or placed in strange locations on the site
- Discounts that are quite literally “too good to be true”
If you ever come across a website that doesn’t quite feel right, you can forward it to a Cyrus security expert for review.
Tip 8: Avoid sharing sensitive details
Shopping online typically requires sharing the standard details, such as credit card numbers or shipping address information—the types of things we’re used to.
But it’s important to remember that no shop should be requesting anything more personal than that. If an online store asks for anything overly personal, like a SSN, that’s a huge red flag! 🚩 Back away!
Cyrus is designed to keep you safer online, especially during the busy shopping season where financial information is passed around for those Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.
Try Cyrus for 50% off today, and enjoy full protection for your online life.
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