Safe online shopping is especially important during times of sales or promotions, such as Black Friday.
But our cybersecurity expert, Filipa Macieira, from the cybersecurity service of the FCCN Unit - RCTS CERT, details 12 good practices to ensure that your transactions are carried out safely.
Topics in this article:
Black Friday and fraud
Black Friday is one of the days of the year with the highest number of online purchases. This increase in the number of transactions also leads to an increase in the number of frauds or fraud attempts.
Cybercriminals use fake ads, social media, emailing or searches on major search engines to grab consumer attention by offering big discounts.
Many consumers are then lured to fake websites, where they may provide personal information and bank details later used to their detriment.
Use reliable equipment
If you are going to make purchases online, carry out the transaction on trusted equipment, trying not to use public computers.
It is also important that you avoid sharing your equipment with others or leaving it "unattended" even for a short time.
And of course, keep up to date the usual protections such as anti-virus or other attack detection tools.
Avoid public and unencrypted networks
In case you shop from your computer, mobile phone or tablet, make sure the wireless network used is secure, avoiding placing your data in places with public and unencrypted Wi-Fi.
Do not reply to unreliable emails
Likewise, avoid replying to dubious emails (#3) and, when visiting a website, make sure it has the padlock next to the address (#4), being wary of those that don't.
Compare the offers on various websites
Another good practice is to search for the same offer on several sites (#5), or on sites that compare prices. If you find a value much lower than the others, you may be facing a fraudulent offer.
In this sense, be wary of overly appealing promotions or offers and research the reputation of the brand if it is unknown to you.
Confirm the authenticity of the page
Use temporary credit cards
If possible, use temporary credit cards (#9), with a limit appropriate to the purchase you are going to make or with a maximum limit of uses and do not provide any personal data that does not fit the context of the purchase.
There are already several solutions for creating temporary cards, from the famous national MBWay, to solutions like Revolut where you can also generate virtual cards.
Always confirm the values of the purchase
At the end, always confirm the total amount of the purchase (#11). Many companies charge shipping costs, without prior notice, which may vary according to the amount of the purchase, the size or weight which will make the product in the end end end up having a higher cost than expected.
Keep a record of all steps
Finally, keep a record of every step of the purchase (#12), through confirmation emails, printout of pages visited or screenshot. Protect yourself.
Shopping safely online
Now that you have a clearer idea of how you can protect your online purchases and ensure that they are all done safely, we can only recommend that you follow these tips in any online transaction.
With the expected growth in online sales and the ease with which one can register domains and create professional looking websites easily, it is important to be aware of all the details.
Whenever you suspect, stop the operation while there is still time, seek information and if necessary report it.
Happy and safe online shopping.