5 Ways to Shop Safely on Black Friday & Cyber Monday

The holiday shopping season now begins online on Thanksgiving (Brown Thursday), continuing through Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Some retailers have even taken it a step further: Mall of America and several other retailers have announced that they will be closed on Thanksgiving—making it a “cyber-only” day for many shoppers.

This new emphasis on “cyber shopping” means that both parents and kids need to be on the lookout for shopping dangers and keep protecting their identity top of mind.

Here are five suggestions that can go a long way towards reducing your vulnerability to identity theft and fraud this holiday season and year round.

  1. Keep a low profile. Avoid sharing personal information to receive promotions and offers. If you need to put in an email address to get a coupon or shop one time on a site, consider using a temporary one. Sites like 10MinuteMail.com can help.
  • Don’t save your credit card info on retailer websites, just in case the retailer suffers a data breach. Limit your social media sharing and never post personal information such as addresses, emails, phone numbers or birthdates.
  1. Pay with a credit card … or online/mobile payment. Always use a credit card, not a debit card. You’re not held responsible for unauthorized credit card purchases (beyond, in some cases, a $50 fee), but a thief armed with your stolen debit card could wipe out your entire bank balance—at least until an investigation is completed. Even better, use an online or mobile payment service such as Apple Pay, Android Pay or PayPal.
  2. Take protective measures online. Public Wi-Fi can expose everything you’re doing online. One of the best ways to protect your information online is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) from a trusted vendor. VPNs provide a “secure tunnel” that encrypts data being sent and received between your device and the internet.
  • Many companies use secure websites—HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure)—to provide online security. You can tell if a website is secure if it has “https” in its URL and has a small lock symbol next to it. However, even though the website itself might be safe, your personal information could still be vulnerable if your network connection isn’t secure.
  1. Watch your accounts closely. Be sure to regularly check your bank and credit card accounts for any unfamiliar charges or activity, and regularly update passwords with unique ones for each site. Online card fraud has risen sharply and this could mean you’re at risk. You can set up text and email alerts to keep track of your bank and credit transactions. Do a weekend recap at the end of a long shopping weekend, and review and shred your receipts when you don’t need them anymore.
  2. Have the Smart Talk. The majority of children receive their first smart phone between the ages of eight and 12. That means managing kids and their devices has become more of a juggling act than ever for parents. LifeLock and National PTA launched The Smart Talk, a free, online tool for families that helps parents have clear conversations with their children about using technology in order to agree on ground rules together. We want our children to learn and have fun through technology, and at the same time, stay safe. The Smart Talk provides an interactive experience that guides kids and parents through a series of questions and conversations about topics such as safety, privacy, screen time, social media, texting and cameras. After agreeing on healthy limits together, a personalized, official family agreement can be stored on the computer or printed and posted at home. Visit TheSmartTalk.org for more information.

Paige Hanson is the Chief of Identity Education at Lifelock. 

Comments

  1. We should be especially careful during this period. The maximum protection of our data will help to avoid some possible cases of the fraud.

  2. Matthew says:

    A really useful article that help me this black Friday!
    we can’t shop Black Friday sales until the day of
    Luxury brands and Apple aren’t on Sale in black Friday,what’s reason?
    well, I’m waiting for cyber Monday .

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