Black Friday and Cyber Monday have combined to become Cyber November in 2020. Stores all over the US have put their Black Friday deals online early due to the pandemic.
Many stores have already released their Black Friday deals. For example, Walmart has 3 separate promotions that start November 4th, 11th, and 25th running for 4 days each with most of the deals online. This gives everyone the entire month of November to do their shopping online rather than wait for Black Friday. Stores are hoping this will increase consumer safety for those who continue their in-store shopping as well by having smaller lines and fewer people fighting for the limited stock of products such as tvs and gaming systems. However, with an increase in online shopping, comes an increase in online scamming. Here are tips on how to stay safe while online shopping this year:
• Check your devices to make sure it has the latest software.
• Use strong passwords and two-factor authentication.
• Never make a purchase while on Public Wi-Fi.
• Use a VPN to avoid hackers intercepting information.
• Check webpage security by looking for the lock icon in the URL field. Also, check that it starts with “HTTPS” rather than “HTTP.” The “s” means it is safer and more secure.
• Stick to trusted stores that you know and have shopped with before.
• If you choose to shop from a new business, check customer reviews or complaints with the Better Business Bureau. Also check their website for legitimacy, including customer service information such as a phone number, email, and physical address.
• Keep in mind that if a deal is too good to be true, then it probably is.
• Use a credit card if you can because they have better fraud protection.
• Monitor your bank and credit card statements and report any suspicious activity.
Whether you’re shopping in-store or online this holiday season, remember to be safe and be on the lookout for scammers. For more information on cybersecurity tips, please visit www.cisa.gov.