Top Ten Tips to Stay Scam-Free on Cyber Monday

by | Cybersecurity Fundamentals

Cyber Monday has become one of the busiest online shopping days, offering great deals and discounts to consumers worldwide. However, as the popularity of Cyber Monday continues to grow, so does the risk of falling victim to scams and fraudulent activities. Cybercriminals are constantly evolving their tactics to deceive shoppers and gain access to their personal and financial information. Our goal is to keep you a step ahead by helping you understand the common scams and take proactive measures to protect yourself while shopping online.

So, without further delay:

1. Use Trusted and Secure Websites

One of the best ways to protect yourself from Cyber Monday scams is to shop from reputable and secure websites. Stick to well-known retailers and e-commerce platforms that have a proven track record of maintaining a secure online environment. Look for the HTTPS protocol (links and web addresses starting with https://) and a lock icon in the browser bar, indicating that the website is using encryption to protect your information. Shopping from unknown or suspicious websites (e.g. Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, NextDoor, etc.) increases the risk of falling victim to scams and having your personal information compromised.

2. Be Wary of Phishing Emails and Fake Websites

Exercise caution when dealing with email attachments from retailers and shippers, as they may contain malware. Scrutinize links and email addresses for typosquatting, which involves using a misspelled or similar-looking domain to deceive users. For example, is perfectly safe, but could well be a phishing site pretending to be legit. Did you spot the difference? Would you in a busy shopping spree?

For instance, you may receive an email from a retailer claiming to offer exclusive Cyber Monday deals. However, upon closer inspection, you notice that the email address has a slight variation or the website link redirects to a suspicious domain. These are classic signs of a phishing attempt. It’s important to be vigilant and avoid clicking on any suspicious links or providing personal information unless you are absolutely certain of the source’s legitimacy

3. Understand Common Scams

Scammers take advantage of the shopping frenzy during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. They manipulate human emotions and create a sense of urgency, fear, or stress to trick unsuspecting shoppers. There are numerous common Cyber Monday scams to be aware of:

Fake order scams

Scammers send fake order confirmations with malware or phishing links, leading to the theft of personal and financial information.

Phony tracking number scams

Scammers send fake package tracking notifications, tricking shoppers into clicking on malicious links or providing sensitive information.

Bogus website scams

Scammers create fake email addresses and URLs to capture login and payment information from unsuspecting shoppers.

Hot deal scams

Scammers offer popular items that are hard to find at incredible prices, but the products are never delivered.

Fake charity scams

Scammers set up bogus charities and pressure people to donate, taking advantage of the generosity and goodwill of shoppers.

Phony tracking number scams

Scammers send fake package tracking notifications, tricking shoppers into clicking on malicious links or providing sensitive information.

Bogus website scams

Scammers create fake email addresses and URLs to capture login and payment information from unsuspecting shoppers.

4. Keep Your Devices and Software Updated

Regularly updating your devices and software is essential for protecting yourself against security threats. Outdated software can be vulnerable to cyber attacks, as hackers often exploit known vulnerabilities. Make sure to install updates and patches promptly to ensure optimal cybersecurity.

5. Use Strong and Unique Passwords

Using strong and unique passwords is a fundamental step in safeguarding your online accounts. Avoid using common passwords or reusing passwords across multiple accounts, as this can make it easier for hackers to gain unauthorized access. Consider employing a password manager, which can generate strong passwords and securely store them for you.

6. Enable Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your online accounts. By enabling this feature, you will need to provide a second form of verification, such as a unique code sent to your mobile device, in addition to your password. This additional step enhances the protection of your accounts and makes it more difficult for unauthorized individuals to gain access.

7. Avoid Public Wi-Fi for Online Shopping

When connected to a public Wi-Fi network, your data can be easily intercepted by hackers. They can use various techniques to intercept your internet traffic and capture sensitive information, such as passwords and credit card details. To ensure the security of your online transactions, it’s recommended to use a reliable VPN service. A VPN encrypts your internet connection and routes it through a secure server, making it virtually impossible for hackers to intercept your data.

8. Check for Secure Payment Options

When making online payments, it’s essential to ensure that the website uses secure payment options. Look for trusted payment gateways, such as PayPal or Stripe, which offer secure and encrypted transactions. Using a credit card instead of a debit card provides an extra layer of protection, as credit cards often come with fraud protection policies that can help you recover your money in case of unauthorized transactions.

9. Research Before Making a Purchase

Researching the product or service you plan to purchase is a crucial step in avoiding scams. Reading reviews from other customers can give you valuable insights into the quality and authenticity of the product. Be wary of deals that appear too good to be true, as they may be a ploy to deceive shoppers. Staying informed about the latest cybersecurity alerts and news can also help you identify potential scams and make more informed purchasing decisions.

10. Monitor Your Financial Statements for Suspicious Activity

Avoiding Cyber Monday scams doesn’t end on Monday. Keeping a close eye on your financial statements is essential to detect any suspicious activity. Regularly review your bank and credit card statements for any unauthorized charges or transactions that you don’t recognize. If you notice any suspicious activity, report it immediately to your financial institution. Acting promptly can help minimize the potential damage and increase the chances of recovering any lost funds or resolving any issues related to fraudulent activities.

Have a Safe Cyber Monday

By following these top ten ways to avoid getting scammed on Cyber Monday, you can enhance your online safety and protect yourself from cybercriminals.

Visit us at Technology Management Group, where our Ctrl Center blog offers comprehensive cybersecurity solutions that can further enhance online security, both for yourself and your organization.

Stay vigilant, protect yourself from cyber threats, and have a delightful holiday shopping season!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *