Author Gilberto Vicente is director of sales and marketing for technology firm Fortinet for Latin America and the Caribbean.
We’re nearing Black Friday, which means cybercriminals are lying in wait to take advantage of unwary buyers. Latin America suffered more than 190 million cyberattacks on remote archives and servers in the third quarter of 2015, and Puerto Rico alone saw more than 1.75 million cyberattacks.
Shoppers can control the risks they take, provided they take proper precautions.
Countless companies offer promotions during this period and especially on Black Friday; with a heightened awareness of cybersecurity, customers can take advantage of sales while minimizing risk.
There are certain things you can do to ensure your online holiday shopping experience isn’t a bad one. It’s a good investment of time for any customer to spend a few minutes reviewing key information to help make the most of their experience and avoid disappointment.
Here are 10 tips to increase your security when shopping online:
- Always use a secure Internet or Wi-Fi connection. Information transmitted over public networks can be intercepted and decrypted by cybercriminals.
- Only shop on reputable websites with certificates and/or security seals to help confirm their legitimacy.
- Check that the Web address begins with HTTPS and/or has a closed padlock icon in the browser address bar.
- Always use strong passwords. A password should ideally include upper and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters. Never share your password with anyone!
- Review privacy policies carefully. Make sure they include contact details or a customer service page.
- Check that the website where the purchase was made issues receipts/invoices, and make sure the information on yours is correct. This is key if there are any mishaps down the line.
- Be wary of fraudulent emails! When in doubt, remember you do not need to open it, and be particularly careful if the email contains attachments or links to other pages.
- If you are unsure, it is advisable to contact the seller and verify whether a particularly good promotion you heard of via social media or through a last-minute email is authentic before clicking on it.
- Keep track of your credit card activity. If you have any suspicious charges, contact your bank immediately.
- Protect your PC, laptop, Smartphone and/or Tablet with security software such as Fortinet’s FortiClient, available as a free download for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android.
Technology today offers all kinds of benefits, and the key to taking advantage of them lies in developing a heightened sense of online danger awareness, which you can develop through ongoing cybersecurity education. Take these tips to heart, and enjoy a safe holiday shopping spree!