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Follow Simple Tips for Safe Holiday Shopping

This year, more than 151 million people shopped either in stores or online over the US Thanksgiving weekend, and those numbers will only continue rise as we move further into the holiday shopping season. And that, of course, presents a large target for criminals bent on purloining payment card data, phishing and more.

According to security firm ESET, consumers can educate themselves to be aware when shopping online, and they should be following a basic set of best practices.

“As we enter the heart of the holiday shopping season, it’s extremely important to be a smart and safe shopper—especially online,” the company noted. “Cybercriminals prey on consumers who are unaware of the potential risks associated with shopping online.

ESET’s tips included the following:

Don’t be phished - Pay close attention to any spelling and grammatical errors in the body of the email, and also look at the sender’s email address. If you don’t recognize the sender, or didn’t sign up for emails from that address, do not respond.

Keep an eye out for vishing - never provide personal details over the phone; instead, call the supposed supplier back and ensure that you are speaking with a customer representative.

Pay attention to HTTPS - Always ensure sites are running web encryption through HTTPS as opposed to HTTP. Also, look for other signs of secure payment options such as Verified by VISA and any other types of two-factor-authentication. (2FA)

Say NO to search engine ads - Ad servers are regularly being breached by criminals who misdirect people who click onto malicious sites where they try to steal credentials or infect users in a drive-by-download attack.

Be wary of fake coupons - If there’s any doubt over the coupon’s authenticity, check official retail store websites or their social channels.

Also, consumers should always make to be careful what links they click on and where they buy products.

“Pay particular attention to tweeted deals that look too good to be true with shortened links (as they might be trying to lure you to a malicious website),” the company said. “If you’ve never heard of the seller before, look into them online and study their terms and conditions carefully because, as mentioned above, you need to be careful who you are buying from.”

Photo © Pavel Ilyukhin

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