The holiday season is quickly approaching and with it an exponential growth in online versus brick and mortar shopping. In the past few years, online sales have grown so much that Black Friday is now coupled with the increasingly famous Cyber Monday. With this frequency of online sales comes a larger target for fraud and identity theft so now is a good time to start taking your online security more seriously. Here are a few simple tips to help you browse and shop safely this coming season.
Know Your Source
Make sure you are only purchasing from reputable and verified sources this season. If a site looks untrustworthy, it is best not to take a chance. Try finding your items in well known and protected sources such as Amazon.com or Verified Ebay.com Sellers where an established source will back your purchases regardless of who the seller is. Do your due diligence on other sellers when you are not quite sure, making sure they are using security measures such as SSL certificates (check for the padlock symbol in the browser URL window) and verification seals from companies such as webClinc Pro.
Safeguard Your Personal Data
Make sure the information you provide is relevant and necessary. Never surrender your information to a source that is unverified and only fill in required fields when asked to submit your personal information. To be safe, only use credit cards with fraud protection when ordering online. Never send cash or wire money to make a purchase online. These methods are unsafe and leave you unprotected.
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Keep Your Computer Clean
Be sure to have an active virus scanner running on your machine and keep it up to date. During busy shopping season, hackers will try to infect as many computers as they can to steal transaction data from the source. After you have completed your transaction online, be sure to log out of any services you were using to purchase items or services online, just to be safe.
Carefully Screen Your Emails
During busy seasons scammers often create false emails that seem to be from legitimate sources online. Even though they may seem real, make sure the links they provide take you to legitimate sources and never surrender any personal information via email. In some cases, scammers create false websites to gather your personal information as if they are acting on behalf of sites you may have accounts with. Be sure to only enter data into the actual sites and not from links you may get in your email.
When In Doubt, Contact A Professional
While some scams might be obvious, others are certainly hard to spot even with some trained eyes. When you are in doubt, its best to avoid the potential threat and contact a professional if you want to be sure. Many reputable computer repair companies will help you clean up malware and adware that may have infected your computer and advise you on how to avoid the problem in the future. You can also find several sources online such as forums and virus reporting websites with helpful tips and more.
Stay safe this holiday season and always purchase with caution. At webClinic Pro we hope these tips help you stay safe from hackers just as we strive to protect the sites you visit.