10 Tips to Help You Shop Safe This Black Friday and Cyber Monday

It’s the most wonderful time of the year—especially for criminals.

With October being Cyber Security Awareness month, we’ve been reminding business owners to be aware of cyberattacks, but they’re not the only targets. With the holiday season quickly approaching and Black Friday and Cyber Monday just days away, shoppers are eager to take advantage of deals—and criminals are ready for distracted shoppers to let their guards down.

To help ensure your holiday season is merry and bright, keep the following 10 tips in mind to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft and scams. Need to report a Cyber incident? Here’s what you need to do to recover.

Black Friday/In-store Shopping

  1. Avoid distractions. When you’re unaware of your surroundings, you become an easy target for thieves.
  2. Keep cash tucked away in your wallet until you’re ready to pay.
  3. Be aware of people standing too close to you—they might be trying to check out your pin number or reach into your bag.
  4. Avoid shopping at peak times if you can. The fewer people around you, the harder it is for a thief to blend in.
  5. If you’re going to unload your purchases in your car, store them in the trunk where they can’t be seen and look around to make sure someone isn’t watching you. Better yet, move your vehicle in case someone is watching.

Cyber Monday/Online Shopping

  1. Stick to shopping with familiar retailers. If you know what their sites look like, you’ll recognize if you’re redirected to another site that looks similar. Look for the https:// (the “s” means it is secure).
  2. Try to use the same credit card in order to better keep track of purchases, and keep a close eye on your financial statements. As soon as you see something suspicious, be sure to report it.
  3. Only provide the required personal information when making purchases.
  4. Try to make purchases from a secure computer with proper antivirus software. If you must purchase from your phone, try to use the retailer’s app, which will have security built into it.
  5.  If it seems too good to be true—it probably is. Avoid clicking on pop-ups or links you find online that promise great deals—it may be a phishing scam or malware.

Happy shopping and remember, stay cyber safe!