Today is the busiest online shopping day of the year. It’s called Cyber Monday and it’s your chance to get great deals from online stores around the world. We want you to have fun and snag the best deals possible, but we also want you to stay safe. So here are a few tips.
Do use a personal VPN (like ours!).
Why: Because you’ll be sharing personal information with different sites and you don’t want anyone stealing that information off the network. You’re likely to be safe at home and if you use an office VPN. But lots of folks shop via public wi-fi and that increases the risk tremendously.
Do check prices by changing your location.
Why: To get different online shopping offers, shop using a VPN and change locations. VPN encryption technology ensures no third parties see your online footprint. A VPN also deletes your logs, so there is no information related to your browsing history, giving you total online anonymity.
Do check the location of the business.
There has been a glut of online stores lately that are selling merchandise directly from China. They look very American or European in their site design, but if you look closely, the shipments or FOB (freight on board) will be overseas. Not only do you risk not getting your merchandise in time, but the quality, durability and materials might not be what you expected. Moreover, returns are difficult, if possible at all. Niche shops can be fun, but they may carry unexpected risk.
Do use a credit card, not a debit card.
Why: Debit and credit cards are treated differently by consumer protection laws, based on an article from CNN Money. Under federal law, your personal liability for fraudulent charges on a credit card can’t exceed $50. But if a fraudster uses your debit card, you could be liable for $500 or more, depending on how quickly you report it.
Okay, this has nothing to do with cybersecurity, but everything to do with a wonderful 2019. A study in 2016 found online shoppers were not great at estimating how much they had spent while shopping online. When asked, most shoppers severely underestimated what they spent online. Makes sense: you’re so busy getting great deals, you stop paying attention. Until you realize you now have a stack of gifts for yourself – well, they were great deals – and still plenty to buy for everyone else!
Here’s to you shopping safely while finding great deals!