Beware of Black Friday: 7 ways to protect yourself when shopping online

While Black Friday dates could initially go unnoticed in places other than North America, the practice of massive discounts on these occasions has already spread to other continents.

The truth is, if we choose to shop online in the hope of resisting certain offers, we are completely mistaken. It is in digital that the greatest number of sales manipulation strategies are materialized, with subtle but effective appeals that make shopping irresistible.

The global e-commerce market is expected to grow to $4.9 trillion by 2021. By 2018, one in ten dollars spent globally was spent online, and by 2022 online sales will account for 17% of all global consumer sales.

Online purchases during November almost triple year after year and the flash sales associated with the last weekend in November are not just 24-hour exclusive deals as they often last all week until Black Friday & Beyond, ending with the so-called Cyber Monday, when stores further reduce the prices of the products they are selling online.

And shopping online is getting easier and easier: through smartphones, tablets, apps and even virtual assistants, everything contributes to more instant and impulsive shopping. So many transaction opportunities that become great opportunities for criminals, as the buying impulse often outweighs the worry of secure wi-fi networks, phishing emails with must-see offers, or fake websites that collect credit card data. It is therefore important to draw attention to the best cybersecurity practices to be implemented in these days of shopping opportunities.

Above all, you should apply common sense and always suspect that an offer which "seems too good to be true" is because... most of the time it is!

Here are some tips that will help minimize your online shopping security risks for the coming season:

Ficam aqui algumas dicas que ajudarão a minimizar os seus riscos de segurança nas compras online para a época que se avizinha:

  • Use secure networks. Public or open wi-fi networks are an excellent gateway for hackers. Don't shop online through insecure networks and give preference to wi-fi networks that require encryption as they make hackers' action difficult and represent a reinforcement of security. If you have to use public networks, make sure that your computer or phone has the antivirus and firewall working and updated, and install one of several applications that already exists to protect yourself in these accesses (for example, Security Master - Antivírus, VPN, AppLock, Booster or WiFi Doctor);

  • Use complex and different passwords. When registering for a site, ensure the use of long passwords, preferably with random words, upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols and always different, from site to site. If you have difficulty generating and managing passwords, there are already applications that help in this matter, such as LastPass ou Keeper;

  • Stay tuned for emails. This is the time of year when you should receive many promotional emails with links to unmissable offers or attachments with unique discounts. Keep an eye out for senders and always check before replying, especially if it means sharing additional data about yourself. There are several ways to help identify a phishing email that often involve creating a sense of urgency or panic. For example, they may threaten that your account will be suspended or the offer will run out if you don't respond immediately. Another way to check the reliability of links is to check how the site's address appears in the address bar: an address with a secure connection starts with HTTPS or has a small lock icon in the browser's address bar. Test your knowledge about this subject by doing the Google / Jigsaw quiz;
  • Browse credible URLs. Credible websites contain the seller's identification, physical address, phone number and email. Be aware of sites that do not provide reliable elements, as well as information about the privacy and security policy. Nowadays, browsers themselves already include security features that allow you to block annoying pop-ups, send "Do Not Track" requests to sites, disable insecure flash content, prevent malicious downloads and control which sites can access your computer's webcam, microphone, etc. Another simple way to test the security of a website is to check the destination of the link before clicking on it (just drag the mouse pointer over any link to check the URL to which it is linked). Check the link for misspellings, repeated letters or other faults that might indicate an impostor site. There are numerous tools on the market that help you to be protected. AVIRA Antivirus, for example, blocks infected websites, phishing attacks (social networks, email, etc.);

  • Avoid help. If you have provided your telephone contact at some point during registration and someone calls to "help" you with a problem, do not give them any confidential information or allow them to access your computer or bank account;

  • Confirm invoices. First of all, make sure it is a valid invoice, i.e. it refers to a purchase you actually made. Then check that the amount is correct, the payment details are correct, the delivery time or other associated conditions. Do not accept requests to change bank account payment details and prefer to use a credit card or platforms such as Paypal instead of a debit card, as there is often more protection in the event of a crime and there are often limits on spending. Or choose a card that is used only for online shopping;

 

  • Keep all documentation. Once you have made your purchase, keep all documentation generated in case you need to exchange or return what you have purchased, ask for after-sales assistance or activate the warranty. Keep Warranty, for example, is an application that stores invoices and warranties, notifying you when they are about to expire.

 

With online shopping platforms evolving faster and faster, and cybercrime following this evolution, being aware of these issues is the least you can do.

The implementation of the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation, among other regulations on privacy and data use, has made these issues crucial for the brands selling online, but also for the increasingly informed and attentive consumers.

 

If you need more information or advice on these or other issues, please contact us!


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