It’s easy to get wrapped up in the holiday frenzy. With the allure of Cyber Monday markdowns, it’s easy to forget to use proper precautions when shopping online. Everyone expects that all the ecommerce sites are safe, but there is always the possibility of getting tricked into visiting a website managed by cybercriminals. Here are a couple things to be mindful of as you shop online this weekend.

Know the Difference Between a Legit and Phony Website

Cybercriminals build fake retail sites that offer suspiciously good deals. Inevitably, consumers are lured by the deals and once they enter their personal information (name, address, phone number, and credit card number) hackers will use this info to their advantage. If there’s a specific site you’re looking for, type the URL directly into the browser instead of going through a search engine.

Be Wary of Unfamiliar Emails

Phishing emails are well-crafted emails that trick users into clicking on malicious links or attachments. These emails are designed to steal your personal information, including credit card information, usernames and passwords. Before you click the link or attachment in your inbox, make sure to double check the sender’s email address to ensure it’s a credible source. You can also hover over the link to see if it’s URL matches the actual site’s destination listed in the email.

Don’t Click on Sketchy Advertisements

Websites are typically flooded with ads, and this is especially true during the holiday season. As you visit your favorite ecommerce site this weekend, think twice before clicking on that eye catching ad. Hackers have the ability to place fake ads on legitimate websites, which redirect to malicious sites. To avoid clicking on a harmful ad, take notice of the domain and URL connected to those ads.

 

Buying gifts for yourself and loved ones should be fun and exciting. If you keep these tips in the back of your mind while you’re shopping online on Cyber Monday, you’ll be saving yourself a lot of trouble in the long run. Let’s make sure we are having happy holidays, not “hacked” holidays.