If you read ‘Black Friday 2018 survival guide’ last week, you will now have a plan for ensuring you get the bargains you’re looking for on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. But what about the online shopping process itself? Today I’m going to cover some basic precautions you should take whenever you buy online.
First, I’ll cover some general security tips and then get on to the shopping part. If you don’t want to go through securing your own computer, bring it to Dave’s Computers in New Jersey and we can to it for you.
Here are those tips to buy online with confidence on Black Friday or Cyber Monday.
Before you go shopping, make sure all of your security software it up to date and set to automatically scan and detect threats. Run an antivirus scan and a malware scan of your computer, phone or tablet the day before Black Friday to make sure there is nothing on your computer that can capture credit card details.
Use a password manager
If you’re going to be creating accounts for stores you’re going to be shopping at, try using a password manager. LastPass is one of many password managers that help manage all your passwords while keeping them secure. Many come with browser addons that can automatically fill passwords and securely log into websites.
These managers also generate secure passwords which is often overlooked. This is an excellent feature that can prevent you using the same password on every site. Use one.
Consider using a prepaid credit card
While using a credit card is relatively secure and you are fairly protected, using a prepaid credit card is even more secure. If a scammer gets hold of the number, they can only take what is loaded on the card and cannot max your credit limit or harm your credit score. If you get carried away, you can only spend what you loaded on the card. It’s an excellent way to stay secure and avoid overspending.
Stick to who you know
If you can, stick to retailers you recognize or know on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. There is less chance of being scammed that way. There are lots of websites that appear just in time for the sales and not all of them can be trusted. If you do land on a page for a retailer you don’t know, look for the green padlock in your browser and check out its reviews first.
Depending on your perspective, user reviews are either the ability for the buying public to take power away from retailers or an opportunity for bitter people to bad mouth a retailer. Either way, look carefully at reviews of companies and products while remember to filter out the phonies that will inevitably appear on review sites. Use your judgment to assess whether what reviews say are true or not and act accordingly.
Know who you’re buying from
Finally, something very few people seem to realize. When buying on Amazon, you have two types of seller. Amazon themselves, usually labeled ‘Fulfilled by Amazon’ and marketplace traders. Those marketplace traders may be legitimate companies or people working out of their basement.
You do not have the same protections when dealing with Amazon Marketplace. Amazon may not be able, or willing, to help if anything happens. The vast majority of transactions will go perfectly but It’s always good to know who you’re buying from.
There are some practical and actionable ways to protect yourself when buying online. Good luck out there!