Issue No. 77December 2018

Safer Online Shopping

With the holiday season upon us, we have received questions about best practice around shopping online (for both business and personal). So we decided to make this month’s article around this. Below are a few tips. A happy holiday season to you all. This has been a another good year for us, we keep growing, and as many of you know, much of our business is based on client referrals, so a big thanks to all of you for spreading the good word on us and our team.  We are very appreciative.

A few tips on safer online shopping:

  1. Go directly to a store or vendor’s website instead of using search engines to look for deals. If you happen to find a deal using a search engine, try to verify it by searching for the exact name of the deal in quotes. If it’s a scam, then it’s likely someone will have already put out a warning.
  2. Give pop-ups and other digital ads the block. Many pop-ups could contain fake coupons, redirect you to malicious sites, or expose you to cross-site scripting attacks. If a coupon from a vendor seems to come out of nowhere with a too-good-to-be-true offer, don’t think twice. Just click that “x” and shut it down.
  3. Watch out for social media scams, especially on Facebook. Cybercriminals are using fake or compromised Facebook accounts in order to post links to amazing deals that don’t actually exist. They’re especially prone to dropping links on the walls of open groups dedicated to shopping.
  4. Look closely at emails with suspicious attachments. Sometimes vendor emails that include attachments, Word docs or PDFs, can be suspect-it’s possible that they may contain malware. If an email looks suspect, contact your manager, and you should review any other related emails closely. If you get an email from a vendor claiming to have a deal, type the store’s URL directly into your browser instead of clicking on the link. If the site doesn’t verify the deal, you know it’s a fake.
  5. Make sure you’re on a secure connection. Look for the “padlock icon” to the left of the URL when you go to check out. If it’s there, then that means the information passed between a store or vendor’s server and your browser remains private. In addition, the URL should read “https” and not just “http.”
  6. Do not use debit cards to shop online. Want to give cybercriminals direct access to your bank account? Then by all means use your debit card. Otherwise, play it safe by using credit cards or a PayPal account that’s linked to a credit card. While many banks are cracking down on fraudulent withdrawals, you’ll still have to wait for your money while they investigate the charges.
  7. Avoid using public Wi-Fi to shop. All a cybercriminal needs to do to get a public Wi-Fi password and wreak havoc is order a coffee. If you’re shopping and entering either personal or business data, usernames and passwords, or payment information, best to do it on a secure connection.  As many of you may be traveling this holiday season, this includes airports as well.

Source:  Malwarebytes

To learn more about other IT best practices for your business,

feel free to reach out to our IT engineering team at

Phone: 858-952-5400 x0