With Black Friday this week, chances are you may do some online holiday shopping for both your business and self to catch those sales. Last week we wrote about card skimming both at retail stores and online stores. This week we will focus on protecting yourself from the online holiday shopping nightmares! 

Make a list

And check it twice. Just like Santa Claus, make that list or purchases you want to make for your small business and check it twice. This way you can budget your expected expenses and can also identify any prices that may seem too good to be true. Yes there are going to be great sales coming, but is that price too low? Do other stores have similar sales on similar products? Are you purchasing from a legitimate online store? These are things you need to consider when making your list.

New online accounts

You may be purchasing from an online store you have never purchased from before and need a new account. When this happens, it is important to remember that you need to create a unique, complex and long password for that new account. Unique means the password isn’t used on another account or is similar to another password you use elsewhere. Complex means it uses upper and lower case letters, numbers, special characters, and isn’t something easily guessed. Lastly, long means at minimum 12 characters, but 16 or more is preferable. If an option, enable multifactor authentication on the new account too.

Watch your inbox

Be extra attentive to phishing emails advertising incredible sale prices. Phishing emails have become extremely convincing so it might be harder to tell this year, but do your best. Continue to look for the obvious things like spelling errors, poor grammar, or lack of proper titles. Always try to check the sender address to confirm it came from the actual domain of that store. Hover over any links or images in the email and look at the URL it wants to take you to, is it to the actual store or is it somewhere else? When possible, go to the actual store website and try to see if the sale is offered on the site as well. If it isn’t it may be too good to be true. If ever in doubt, throw it out.

So as we are now officially in the holiday shopping season, let’s stay focused and protect our small businesses from falling victim to cybercrime.  For more great advice about online holiday shopping check this out from the National Cybersecurity Alliance.

To learn more on other cybersecurity threats, trends, and topics with a focus on small business, check out Small Business, Big Threat!