Read Printerinks guide to how to stay safe when shopping online on Black Friday. This Black Friday is looking set to be one of the biggest ever. If like many shoppers, you want to avoid the crowds but nab the deals, you’ll probably be looking to do some shopping online. While online shopping is usually very safe and straightforward, there are still a few things you can do to keep your information as safe as possible.
Below, we look at some of the best ways to stay safe when shopping online on Black Friday.
1. Get a pre-paid credit card
If your primary concern is protecting your banking information, consider getting a pre-paid credit card. You load it with money, and then use it like a regular credit or debit card. But unlike your regular debit or credit card, the pre-paid card is in no way linked to your wider financial details. If the pre-paid card details do get compromised, for example, the criminals can’t use that information to get into your bank account.
As a bonus, it can seriously help with holiday budgeting.
2. Check for the ‘S’
Make sure every website you buy things from starts with https. That ‘s’ means ‘secure’, which means the website is encrypting the data you are sending to and receiving from it.
You can also get a browser extension called ‘HTTPS Everywhere‘, which encrypts your data with every website you use, making your internet connection even more secure – especially important if you’re accessing the web on a public internet connection.
3. Stick to sites you know.
Now is not the time to experiment. If you’re really worried about online safety, use the big, well-known sites. They have the resources to keep their site security as up-to-date as possible, and they have the experience to deflect most attempted security breaches.
If you do want to support smaller businesses, use the internet to find what you want and where you want to buy it, and then buy offline, if possible.
4. Beef up your passwords.
Passwords are impossible, aren’t they? If they’re complex enough to be secure, they’re impossible to remember. And you have to have a different one for each website. It can be all too much, which is why password managers are so great.
With password managers, you only have to remember one password. The manager will create new, complex passwords for each account you have, and when you want to sign in, you just use the password manager password. The rest is done for you.
5. Become familiar with your bank’s fraud notification system.
When it comes to financial breaches, time is critical. The sooner you spot and report fraudulent activity, the more likely you are to be protected from financial loss and further breaches. Look at the fraud protection you can get from your bank or financial institution. You may be able to get fraud alerts, which can let you know nearly instantly if your account shows potentially fraudulent activity. That way, if something goes wrong, you and your financial institution can act as quickly as possible.
6. Only fill in the necessary information.
Sites often ask for your birthday to send you special treats (or targeted marketing emails), but if crooks get that information, they can potentially use it to steal your identity. To protect yourself, fill in only the information the site needs to process your order. Skip everything else.
And if the site asks for very personal information, like your National Insurance number, run. No site will ever need that for anything other than criminal activity.
7. Update your operating system, antivirus software, browser and plugins.
It is a pain, but all those updates contain important patches that fix identified security risks. So bite the bullet, and hit ‘update’. Otherwise, you’re just leaving well-known weak spots in your security.
In the end, many of these tips are the kind of common sense things that can keep you safe all year. But since criminals are particularly busy this time of year, it pays to be particularly vigilant. That way, you keep yourself as safe as possible and, if the worst does happen, you can act quickly.
That can make all the difference, and it can make for a happier holiday season. If you are in need of ink and toner please take a look at Printerinks Black Friday offers.