A Guide to Safe Online Shopping During the Holiday Season

December 1, 2023by TNTMAX

The holidays and gift giving season are officially here. And this season, almost everyone (93%) will buy at least some gifts online, with nearly half (47%) saying they will purchase all or most of their holiday gifts using the internet, according to ecommerce platform Shopify

Unfortunately, cyber criminals don’t take off for the holidays. From cyber threats to fraudulent activities, it is important to be vigilant when it comes to online shopping. Here’s a guide on how to stay safe and keep your spirits high this season. 

Keep Your Devices and Software Updated

One of the primary defenses against online threats is to ensure that your devices and software are up to date. Regularly update your operating system, antivirus software, and browser to benefit from the latest security features and patches. Cybercriminals often target outdated systems with known vulnerabilities, making updated software a crucial line of defense.

Only Shop from Secure Websites

Before entering any personal or financial information, ensure that the website is secure. Look for “https://” in the URL, which indicates a secure connection. Additionally, reputable online retailers often display trust seals, such as Norton Secured or McAfee Secure, providing an extra layer of assurance regarding the website’s security.

Use Strong and Unique Passwords

Create strong, unique passwords for your online shopping accounts. Avoid using easily guessable information like birthdays or common words. A combination of upper and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters enhances the strength of your password. Use a different password for each online account to prevent a security breach on one platform from affecting others. Use a password manager to keep your passwords unique and robust.

Enable Multi-Factor Authentication

Many online retailers offer the option of multi-factor authentication. Enabling this feature adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second form of verification, such as a code sent to your mobile device, in addition to your password. This significantly reduces the risk of unauthorized access to your accounts.

Be Cautious with Emails and Links

During the holiday season, phishing attempts often increase. Be skeptical of unsolicited emails, especially those claiming to offer incredible deals or urgent promotions. Avoid clicking on links in emails; instead, navigate to the retailer’s website directly by typing the URL into your browser. Legitimate companies will not ask for sensitive information via email.

Check for Reviews and Ratings

Before making a purchase from an unfamiliar online store, be sure to check for reviews and ratings from other verified customers. Reputable platforms often have customer feedback sections that can provide insights into the quality of products, customer service, and overall shopping experience. Be careful of sites with no reviews or suspiciously positive feedback. 

Monitor Your Bank Statements

Regularly review your credit card and bank statements for any unauthorized transactions throughout the season. If you notice anything unfamiliar, report them to your financial institution immediately. 

Utilize Secure Payment Methods

It is important to opt for secure payment methods, such as credit cards or reputable digital payment services. These methods often provide additional layers of protection and may offer fraud detection services. Avoid using debit cards for online purchases, as they are directly linked to your bank account and can expose you to greater risks in the case of a security breach.

By following these guidelines, you can prioritize safety during the holiday season, ensuring a secure and enjoyable online shopping experience for you and your loved ones.

For more information on how TNTMAX can help your business with cybersecurity, call us at (201) 891-8686 or email [email protected].