Mental Daily Creator Offers Tips On Shopping Safely This Holiday Season

By  //  October 15, 2021

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It’s that time of the year again. As Christmas is fast approaching, cyber Grinches are ramping up their efforts to steal your personal information. But don’t let yourself be a victim to these sleazy criminals.

The founder of the psychology research site Mental Daily, whose stories have been featured in news, radio and television outlets, including Engadget, HuffPost, the International Business Times, and Liputan 6, compiled six tips that can help you shop safely online during the holiday season. Enjoy.

Make Sure Your Anti-Virus Is Enabled.

As you begin to browse shopping catalogs, you may want to make sure your anti-virus software is enabled and functioning in the background. Tools that include anti-phishing and firewall protection can reduce the likelihood of cyber crooks compromising your sensitive data, according to Mental Daily.

If no antivirus is installed on your PC, a quick search can yield numerous available free-of-charge. Avast, AVG, and Kaspersky are regarded as popular choices. In 2017, PCMag released their top choices of anti-virus software, with all three ranking in their list.

Be Cautious Of Free Public Wi-Fi Hotspots.

You may be at a spot somewhere in a public setting browsing the Web and happen to find a fast-selling product. If you are browsing via a public Wi-Fi hotspot,  however, it is wise to be cautious, as your personal data could get snatched by a cyber crook.

It is known that public wireless networks are often used with minimal security and are attractive targets for aggressive hackers. The best option would be to wait until you get home or within an area with a secure internet connection.

The Web Browser Should Have A Padlock.

As you are doing your shopping online, the metadata being processed should be encrypted, especially if inputting credit card information. The store you are shopping at should have a green padlock in the address bar, which indicates a secure, encrypted connection, the Mental Daily article states.

If no padlock is displayed, one should check for an “https” and not an “http” connection. Https connections are encrypted and secure. If you are shopping at an online store with an unsecured connection, your private data may be stolen by cybercriminals.

Refrain From Weak Passwords.

US-based cybersecurity expert Candice Lanier told Mental Daily in an interview that the use of simple passwords such as “123456” or “password” should be avoided, given the complexity of bots used by malicious actors to force a breach.

“Passwords which are anywhere from 12 to 40 characters long with a mix of letters and characters will be hard to crack. You can use a password manager to keep track of your many, long passwords,” said Lanier.

Check The Online Store’s Reputation

It is vital to research the reputation and credibility of the store you are shopping in. A vast majority of online stores have secure padlocks, but the ones that don’t usually take advantage of their customers and may engage in scams.

Initiating a quick search on sites like Bing, Yahoo or Google can save you time and money as you carry on with your shopping activities. Just remember: Negative ratings on consumer sites like indicate trouble.

Reduce Credit Card Data

Inhibiting the risk of identity theft entails the use of only one credit card for your online purchases. Prepaid cards are even available and can also inhibit the risk of being compromised.

During online shopping, web browsers tend to have an autofill option. Such a feature stores your credit card information for purchases made in the future. But its use should be cautioned, as it can give hackers another way to harvest your private data.