Safe Online Shopping GuidanceNovember 08, 2022
Smartphones and the Internet have revolutionized the way consumers shop. Armed with a few search
terms and simple clicks, we can find items, compare prices, read product
reviews, order, and pay for all types of items from electronics, appliances,
and tools to furniture, clothes, and groceries. Often, consumers also have the
power to choose whether purchases will be picked up in store or delivered right
to our doorstep. Any way you look at it, online shopping is a fast and
convenient way to buy what we want and need.
Online convenience also comes with some risk. Sometimes consumers don’t receive exactly what they
ordered; get scammed by fraudulent websites; or become victims of identity
theft and/or loss. Cybercriminals are opportunistic, and they will be seeking
to exploit the growth in online shopping this holiday season. But don’t worry,
with a little preparation and vigilance, consumers can safely and securely shop
online and avoid falling victim to scams.
Since cybercrime is largely motivated by money, that makes Black Friday and Cyber Monday very
attractive targets for cybercriminals. And that means increased phishing
attempts that try to get you to reveal personal information, account
credentials, and credit card numbers. Through email, fake ads, and illegitimate
websites, cybercriminals are hoping some unwitting consumers will let their
guard down in the rush to secure the best deals before they’re gone.
Since consumers often spend more than usual during the holiday season, it’s easy to lose focus when
an email or text message arrives under the guise of your credit card provider
or bank regarding a suspicious transaction or frozen account. Without prior
awareness of these scams, some consumers mistakenly click on links or share
their personal information. Instead, consumers should be aware of these and
other common attacks and use caution to avoid falling victim.
Knowledge is power. Enjoy your online shopping experience by following best practices and increase
your awareness of common scams. These eight tips can help you get the deals and
avoid the scams:
1. Use familiar websites and know thy vendors.
Before providing any personal or financial information, be sure
that you are doing business with a reputable, established vendor. Verify the
legitimacy of the website by reviewing certificate information, including who
it was issued to. Check the BBB’s online directory and scam tracker or search
retailer reviews on Google.
2. Look for the ‘s’ and the lock.
Always look for the security symbol, such as an unbroken padlock in the address
bar and URLs that start with ‘https’. This ensures that your information is
protected with encryption.
3. Avoid phishing and social engineering attacks.
Be wary of unsolicited email requesting information from you,
such as fake invoices or shipping notifications. Legitimate businesses don’t
ask for information via email. Instead of responding to the email or clicking
on links, type in the merchant’s authentic website address yourself and log in
to check your account.
4. Be aware of common tricks.
Educate yourself about common online scams to avoid falling for
too-good-to-be-true deals, including rock-bottom prices form unknown internet
retailers, fake ads and social media offers, gift card scams, and more.
5. Use credit, not debit.
Credit cards offer an extra level of protection from fraudulent charges that may not be available
with a debit card. You can add additional purchase protections by using a
payment gateway like PayPal, Good Wallet, or Apple Pay. Secure payment gateways
stop purchase data from being intercepted by hackers.
6. Monitor your statements and verify receipts.
Keep records of your purchases, including confirmation pages or
email receipts, to compare with your bills and statements. If there is a
discrepancy, report it immediately.
7. Always use strong passwords.
Simple and commonly used passwords allow hackers to easily gain access and control of your online
accounts, change shipping addresses, and make purchases using your credit
8. Don’t purchase over public Wi-Fi.
If you shop using your mobile phone, stay on your carrier’s cellular network.
Free public Wi-Fi can be much less secure.
CyberScout®—We’ll take it from here.™
CyberScout is leading the charge against hackers and thieves, providing identity management, credit
monitoring and cyber security for more than 17.5 million households and 770,000
businesses. Contact your bank, credit union, insurance company or employer to
find out if they offer CyberScout services.
This information is meant to be a broad overview and should not be the only source
you consult for evaluating your risk management needs. Adherence to the above
guidelines does not ensure coverage under your policy, nor does it guarantee
your risk will be accepted by our company or that your property or operations
are safe, healthful, or in compliance with laws, rules, or regulations.
Coverage is determined by specific policy provisions, limitations and
exclusions that can only be expressed in the policy itself.