Black Friday is approaching so most of us already have a plan of attack to secure the best deals and save as much money as possible on useful items. And while Black Friday is the busiest day for online shoppers, it is also the riskiest one. There are companies, hackers, and other third parties waiting for you to make one of the common mistakes we see people make all the time when online shopping, so they can take advantage of you. Here’s how to avoid falling victim to Black Friday online scams
Use a VPN while shopping
The biggest step you can take towards safer browsing is through using a VPN. Having a VPN is important every day of the year, but on Black Friday it is essential. When you shop online while using a VPN, all your private data goes through a secure tunnel, meaning that no one will be able to access that data and exploit it. When you shop online, you’re actually giving away a lot of information about yourself, be that your financial information, shopping habits, or your wishlist. Third parties can easily use this for their gains, while your internet service provider could try and make a profit by selling that information so stay safe and browse all your favorite stores while using a VPN.
You’ll be happy to hear that the perks of using a VPN don’t end there. Oftentimes you will find that because a VPN is using a remote server, you might get a better deal than you would have, had the websites registered your real location. There are plenty of examples of people getting better deals on hotels, tickets, and various products just because they used a VPN while shopping.
Shop at trusted websites
Not all websites that look nice are safe to shop at. It’s always a good idea to shop on websites that you are already familiar with, or that are confirmed to be safe for shoppers. You would be surprised by the number of e-commerce websites that have no security or safety protocol and do nothing to protect their client’s private data. Before you commit to entering your financial information and your address into a website, double-check that they are trusted and actually keep your data from third parties.
If you can, provide as little information as possible.
In some cases, you have to hand over a lot of personal information to a website in order to be eligible for purchase. When that seems to be the case, just ensure that you are shopping at a legitimate website. But if you can avoid doing it, it’s always better to give away as little as possible when buying from a website. Giving away too much information sets you up for risky privacy breaches as well as never-ending, annoying ads that third parties will use to further their marketing campaigns. So when possible, try to give away as little information about yourself as possible.
Never shop while using public Wi-Fi
Using public Wi-Fi, in general, is always a security hazard, because it is so vulnerable to attacks, and you are basically giving access to your browsing history and other personal details to third parties. While this is a problem within itself, shopping over public Wi-Fi can easily lead to hackers stealing your financial information and draining your accounts. One of the ways to avoid that is to never use public Wi-Fi when making a purchase, especially during Black Friday when hackers are on the hunt for unassuming internet users making a small mistake and giving away too much information by accident.
Create Strong Passwords
While this tip should be used year-round, on Black Friday a lot of us find ourselves registering on plenty of new websites and getting lazy with our passwords. But Black Friday is the day that we should be extra careful about doing online shopping. While it may feel like too much extra work for nothing, you will be saving yourself from a lot of trouble and worrying by just making your account safe by using a strong password. If you ever feel like your passwords are getting overwhelming, you can always use a password manager.
Use Secure Payment methods
Another way to avoid getting your financial information stolen or compromised is to use safe payment options, like Venmo, Paypal, or Stripe. This way you won’t have to put in your financial information on every single website you purchase from. Instead, you are going to use the payment platform of your choice and avoid handing over sensitive data to various websites that might misuse that information
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