Hopefully everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, spending time with the ones you love, and finding time to eat plenty at the dinner table gatherings. Last week, we offered up some safety tips to help protect the adventurous shoppers who ventured out to the shopping malls to take advantage of some of the Black Friday sales that follow the day of giving thanks.
But lest you think your safety only need be a concern when you’re physically out and about at the stores, the truth is, the sales and transactions that occur on the Monday after Thanksgiving – now known as Cyber Monday – pose some of the most likely risks of victimization in today’s society.
Cyber Monday earned its moniker in 2005 when Ellen Davis, the senior vice-president of research and strategic initiatives for the National Retail Federation noticed the new trend of retailers offering previously unavailable discounts in the e-commerce domain.
Cyber Monday numbers are nothing to scoff at.
Record Black Friday & Cyber Monday Numbers
Take a peek at these numbers, gathered by Adobe Analytics – Thanksgiving shopping already broke records, with $4.2 billion in online sales. Not to be outdone, Black Friday alone witnessed new records, with shoppers spending $7.4 billion buying online, either with their computers, tablets or via the surging method, their smartphones. The Black Friday 2019 sales were up $1.2 billion from Black Friday 2018.
Of the Black Friday sales, $2.9 billion of them happened via smartphones – sales via smartphones were up 21% over last year, a method of sales growing even faster than online shopping. The average order value was $168, a new record for Black Friday, up nearly 6% from last year. Not surprisingly tech gear and entertainment systems were popular items on the sales lists.
And now, here comes Cyber Monday.
Adobe predicts that Cyber Monday sales will reach $9.4 billion. Yes, you read that right. The National Retail Federation predicts that approximately 122 million Americans will shop online on Cyber Monday alone.
At The Edward Davis company, we specialize in several areas of information technology security and cybersecurity.
Cyber-Monday Shopping Safety & Cybersecurity Tips
In the meantime, though, we want to use the experience of Cyber Monday shopping to remind everyone of some of the basic safety measures you need to follow when shopping online, not just on Cyber Monday, but all year long.
- Phishing is the fraudulent practice of sending emails claiming to be from reputable companies in order to induce you to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers. Any legitimate company will not send emails that try to convince you to disclose personal financial information.
- Pay with your credit card. Federal law allows you to dispute charges if you don’t receive an item.
- Check those credit card statements regularly to watch for unauthorized purchases.
- Keep some form of documentation of your purchases, whether it comes with an email or text alert.
- Use strong passwords – at least seven characters long, a mix of capital and small letters, numbers and symbols. And don’t use the same password for all your online activity.
- NEVER enter your personal information on an unsolicited email.
- Only shop on trustworthy websites.
- Check the authenticity of a website’s shoppers’ review before you trust an online retailer or their fake products. Fake positive reviews are capable of making scamming websites look like a real one.
- Only provide your credit card information when a website’s web address shows HTTPS: (not HTTP), or has a little padlock in the browser that confirms it’s a secure connection.
- Always obtain tracking numbers for your orders. They will help you find lost orders, but also keep you posted on the item’s delivery.
- Avoid using public wi-fi when conducting your shopping. Cyber attackers will often use public wi-fi to infect your devices with malware or to steal your personal information.
- It may seem like a cliché, but don’t fall for the too good to be true offers. Always read the fine print on those offers, as there are usually hidden costs.
Learn More Security Tips From The Edward Davis Company
Now that you’ve made your purchases online and will be eagerly awaiting their arrival, there are lots you need to know to protect the delivery from thieves when it arrives at your home. In our next blog post, we’ll cover some of the home safety tips to protect your packages from the rising threat of “porch pirates,” stealing your deliveries before you even know they’ve arrived.