Black Friday 2021 – Here is what you must do to protect yourself from Cyber Risks

It’s now a few weeks before Black Friday 2021, and we realized that most retail outlets have already started preparing to give massive discounts on their online stores. Some are already awarding Black Friday discounts to their in-store customers. These savings, every year, create a frenzy among shoppers across the world, and many people tend to lose guard as bogus sites surface just to cash in on unsuspecting buyers.

Black Friday shopping was imported from the USA to the rest of the world, and in recent years, millions of shoppers have joined in on the excitement. For scammers, these millions of people present a massive opportunity to make millions of dollars. This year, we suspect, will be massive, given how people have already grown more comfortable shopping online, courtesy of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is evidenced by the growth experienced by online retail giants such as Amazon during this pandemic.

Nevertheless, your money must be protected during this Black Friday, and here is what you can do to get the protection.

1. Always check the name of the website

You could be browsing around and see an attractive advert online and think, “Why not get it?” Well, before pressing the ‘buy’ button, make sure to check the website’s name. We realized that bogus retailers take popular names and tweak the name a little bit – enough for you not to see the change. For example, they could take the name “Edgars” and tweak it to “Egdars”. Such changes aren’t easy to see, and you can confidently buy from bogus sellers.

2. Don’t let scam emails fool you

Email marketing is one of the best things to happen to marketers. While reading your mailbox, you come across several emails from marketers every day, and even if you wonder how they got your email address, you still get tempted to click through some. Black Friday scams could easily affect you through email marketing. Therefore, be vigilant when it comes to these.

3. Check out the web address

The first thing to look at when looking at a web address is whether it starts with HTTPS or not. Never mind the meaning of those five letters, but they tell you that the website is protected from people who steal financial information and passwords belonging to anyone who logs into the site. As such, a website without the HTTPS at the beginning of its address is not safe to purchase on. More so, this should tell you that it could be a bogus site because most, if not all, genuine retailers take this seriously.

4. Avoid using public Wi-Fi

We know that it sounds sweet to be using free public Wi-Fi in your ‘hood’. But this can present one of the most dangerous cyber ‘situations’ to you and your family. Most public Wi-Fi spots are not protected from Cyber Criminals. Their security protocols are porous; hence getting your favorite dress on discount while using a public Wi-Fi spot could get your credit card information into the wrong hands. Things like your addresses and other emails and passwords are not 100% secure at such Wi-Fi spots.

5. Create strong passwords

Lazy-ing around and creating a generic password for most of your accounts is one sure way to make yourself vulnerable to Cyber-crimes, even on secure sites. Criminals may pounce on you if you do the same for your Black Friday purchase(s) online. Create strong passwords that carry a combination of letters, words, and symbols; these aren’t easy to crack.

6. Avoid saving your card and financial information online

Again, we enjoy saving our cards online so that the next time we make a purchase, we just click and go. Well, that ‘click ‘n go’ tendency may lend you in trouble one day. Remember, you could be doing something for years and end up thinking it’s a secure way of doing things – but it only takes a single chance for a mistake to happen, and that would be the end of your ‘happy’ spell.

7. Use a virtual card to buy online

A virtual card protects you from cybercriminals. This is because virtual cards are designed to have an ever-changing CVV number required to complete an online purchase. So, even if criminals steal your card number, it will be difficult for them to use it to take your money.

A CVV number is required before an online merchant allows the payment of goods to go through.

Otherwise, be safe during this year’s Black Friday period, shop securely online, and minimize the chances of Cyber Criminals pouncing on you.