How To Shop Safely Online This Holiday Season
The three biggest holiday shopping days of the year are Thanksgiving (not often in Africa, Uganda at large), Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Americans spent $25 billion online this year and if you’re crooked, I have no stats for Ugandans that did.
Nobody will ever tell you what you can do to protect yourself from scammers, except me. Here is a list of things not to do, a list of don’ts. Let’s run through them, and I can tell you why not.
1.Right, don’t be fooled because you’re looking for a bargain.
Lots of people are out of work, or their income has been reduced, and so they’re naturally looking for discounts and rewards. And the scammers know this, so they’re sending emails “oh, you’ve won, you know, a $50 gift card to Amazon for all your shopping.!” And if you’ve been shopping a lot on these platforms, you’re like, oh, OK, that might make sense. But it doesn’t. So that’s how I help people protect themselves – just a blanket, I don’t click anything. Even if I’m expecting a delivery, and I get a note, I go to the website to double-check and track from that platform.
2. Don’t be so loyal. Loyalty sounds so nice, though. Why not be loyal to a merchant?
Well, anybody who has had an account with just about any major company these days knows that data breaches have been happening like a dime a dozen. And so, your data is out there when you sign up for these loyalty programs. Now, if it’s a retailer or maybe a grocery store that you frequent often, then sure; you know, you get your discount. But if you’re just shopping for something, and a website says, oh, just join our loyalty program – no. Try to limit the amount of your personal information that is online.
3. Now, in addition to the don’ts, you have some things to do, and one of them seems related to that.
Check out as a guest rather than giving all of your information permanently to a merchant. The more information that you put on these sites, the more likely that your data is going to be out there. Hackers are going to hack them. Just check out as a guest. Don’t store your credit card information. That increases the likelihood that it’s going to be compromised. You just got to really protect yourself and take that extra step to look and check out sites before you use them.
The scammers play off with the news, so they know lots of people are shopping online. So that’s why you probably have seen an increase in the number of emails that you’re getting about discounts and things like that. So, there is more scamming out there. The scammers have become so sophisticated. You have to think like a criminal, almost, to save yourself from being scammed.