With most of us shopping online rather than in person this year, Black Friday should include not only the drive to find the best deals, but also the need to be safe when shopping online. This weekend will likely set new U.S. records for online shopping, so it is more important than ever to stay safe online.
By the way, the U.S. sales records are not likely to come close to the $115 billion in sales by Alibaba, a holiday largely reinvented by the Chinese marketing giant.
The old adage that if a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is remains true even on Black Friday. Too often, the products offered are lower-priced versions of the products you want. There are great deals available, but irrational discounts likely come at a cost.
- Shop on sites you know rather than clicking though unknown advertising links. Avoid scams by going to the source of the sites you like for your favorite shopping. Look-alike sites can use fake ads to redirect shoppers.
- Avoid clicking on links in unknown emails and texts. Again, the risk is being redirected to malicious sites.
- Trust the crowds. There are always apps slipped into the app stores designed to mine credit card information or steal personal information. The risk usually goes down in highly popular apps since they are vetted more often. While not foolproof, it helps.
- Remember to create unique passwords on each site. Many sales require you sign up.
- Avoid storing credit card information on websites. It is a small convenience, but it puts the consumer at the mercy of the sites data security protocols.
- Make a charitable donation. This has nothing to do with privacy or cybersecurity, but at the time we are all buying for our selves and our loved ones, it is a great time to think of others in need. And if you believe in karma, it can’t hurt.
Be safe and enjoy the holiday!