Issue: Black Friday Online Shopping Safety Tips
Each year I purchase loads of stuff on Black Friday. This year is not an exception, so I’ve already started preparing for this big day. The problem is that every year after shopping online on this day I have to fight against tons of advertisements and ad-supported programs on my PC. I know that scammers are not sleeping on this day too, so I would like to know what precautionary measures could I take to prevent malicious programs from installing on my PC? Thanks in advance!
The day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday. This day is treated as the beginning of the holiday shopping and is eagerly awaited by most of the people because of the dramatic discounts and probably the best prices of the year. While several years ago people tend to go to the shopping malls, these days the numbers of online shoppers is increasingly growing. According to National Retail Federation, it is expected that a half of the Black Friday enthusiasts are going to shop online.
Frequently growing number of online shoppers prompted cyber criminals to activate their fraudulent activities on Black Friday as well. The statistics conducted by ACI Worldwide revealed that cyber attacks have increased more than 30% in the past year. More than 2 mln people have unconsciously revealed their bank account and credit card details to scammers, 1.5 mln people ended up with a virus on their PCs, almost a million online shoppers got their email accounts or social media hacked, and so on. Having all these numbers in mind, it’s very important to protect your PC in a proper way and be very careful while popping from one online shop to another. Here are some Black Friday safety tips for online shoppers:
Tip 1. Use a professional anti-malware
To protect your PC from malware and fraudulent activities by scammers, it’s a must to install a professional anti-malware or update the one that is currently working on your PC. Make sure that the program you are going to use can conduct a real-time scan and has an updated virus database. Our recommendation would be to use Reimage.
Tip 2. Beware of fake web pages
Fake shopping websites is one of the widely used trick that helps scammers to expose people’s credit card details easily. Beware that Black Friday may bring hundreds of fake websites to the daylight, so make sure that you double-check the domain before accessing it. Even though some of the sites are well-designed and look almost alike the genuine online shop, check the URL if it does not contain some questionable words or symbols. Besides, keep in mind that URL addresses of the online shows seldom ends with .net or .org extensions. Anyway, if something raises your suspiciousness, it’s better not to access such a website.
Tip 3. Make sure the site is protected by SSL
Websites that are protected by SSL are more secure. Therefore, it’s advisable to access websites that starts with HTTPS:// instead of HTTP://. To chek site’s details, right-click on the locked padlock, which is shown on the address bar and see the status of the page you are on or about to visit.
Tip 4. Do not open questionable emails
Do you know what phishing attack is? Or how does a phishy email looks like? Phishing is yet another tricky technique used by scammers for pulling out personal information, such as full name, address, email address, and so on. Phishy emails are supposedly sent by well-known retailers, official institutions or individuals. The content of such email messages may also differ, however, never fall for participating in surveys that require entering personal information, never click on links embedded in emails, which are sent by an unfamiliar sender, do not open attachments, and so on. At best, if you receive an email from an unknown sender, especially if it contains an attachment, report it as scam immediately.
Tip 5. Ignore prize giveaway ads
Security specialists have also noticed that Black Friday is accompanied by an increased number of fake prize giveaway ads. While browsing on the Internet, you may receive a pop-up notification offering you to participate in various games and win prizes like iPads, flight tickets, iPhones, gift cards, and so on. Unfortunately, in order to participate in a lottery, you will be asked to enter some of the personal information, so you may also get scammed.
Tip 6. Don’t use public Wi-Fi
While hotspots are very popular these days, it’s advisable not to make payments public network as it’s extremely vulnerable and can easily be hacked.
Tip 7. Use credit card instead of debit card
Specialists warn that debit cards are less secure if compared to credit cards because they feature a better consumer protection.
Tip 8. Use a strong password
Most of the online shops ask to create an account. These accounts require entering the basic information, so it does not take long to become a member of a particular shop. Nevertheless, to put an extra layer of security, make sure that you invent a strong password and do not use the same for multiple sites.
These are the basic steps that you should take into account if you want to shop safely and prevent money loss and PC-related problems on Black Friday.
Prevent websites, ISP, and other parties from tracking you
To stay completely anonymous and prevent the ISP and the government from spying on you, you should employ Private Internet Access VPN. It will allow you to connect to the internet while being completely anonymous by encrypting all information, prevent trackers, ads, as well as malicious content. Most importantly, you will stop the illegal surveillance activities that NSA and other governmental institutions are performing behind your back.
Recover your lost files quickly
Unforeseen circumstances can happen at any time while using the computer: it can turn off due to a power cut, a Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) can occur, or random Windows updates can the machine when you went away for a few minutes. As a result, your schoolwork, important documents, and other data might be lost. To recover lost files, you can use Data Recovery Pro – it searches through copies of files that are still available on your hard drive and retrieves them quickly.