Your Cyber-Safe Black Friday Guide

laptop with credit card
Credit: Paul Felberbauer

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday just around the corner, we thought it would be a great idea to send out as many cyber-safe tips as possible to our readers before catching a bargain online.

Don’t Get Tricked into Clicks

Spam emails always seem to find their way into our inboxes, and it is especially common this time of year. Scammers know that we’re on the lookout for some great deals, and create ‘too good to be true’ offers to trick us. These may appear as emails or social posts from legitimate brands with amazing deals. Once clicked, these links can take you to a fraudulent site to collect your credit card details. Some can even install malicious software on your computer to steal information or even hold your data to ransom. 

Also, be wary of order confirmation emails or delivery tracking notifications. These could be for things you didn’t order and they often have poor spelling or grammar.

GadgetGuy’s biggest tip to avoid these tricks is to visit the sites you trust by typing in their address directly rather than following a link. If there’s a great deal to be had, you’ll probably find it easily on their homepage. By doing this, you know exactly where you are purchasing your products from.

Shape up your Security

When was the last time you updated your passwords? Now is a better time than ever! Be sure to choose long, complicated passwords with a mix of capitalisations, numbers, symbols and letters. 

Another great security measure, and not just for Black Friday, is to enable 2 Factor Authentication whenever possible. A large number of retailers and banks already use this security method to ensure that nobody else can access your account bar you.

Before making any purchases or clicking any links, it is a great idea to update your internet security software and computer operating system. This will reduce the amount of impact malicious software may have on your device and hopefully terminate it before the malware becomes a problem.

Black Friday
Credit: Danny Nelson

Do not use public Wi-Fi! As convenient as free Wi-Fi from your local coffee shop may be, it is not secure. If you must use it, we recommend installing a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to keep you safe. Otherwise, use your home Wi-Fi for any online purchases and downloads, guaranteeing no other user can access your data.

Secure your Black Friday Checkout

Once you’ve made it to the checkout, the main objective before you press that magical purchase button is to ensure it is secure. Keep an eye out for a lock symbol where the web address is shown in your browser. Otherwise, make sure that there is an ‘HTTPS://’ at the beginning of the web address you see during checkout. 

Payment gateways such as PayPal or Apple Pay can also keep you safe. They offer buyer protections and also need to evaluate the site they appear on to ensure they are legitimate.

If you do make a purchase, make sure you use your credit card rather than direct bank transfers. And don’t forget to monitor your bank statements for fraudulent activity over the following few weeks.

Following all these tips will make for a safe environment for you to purchase all the latest gadgets in this festive season.

For more tips on protecting yourself and online identity, click here.