Cyber shopping tips for the holiday season

Stephen Kho 22 Nov 2021

Click with caution: Black Friday and Cyber Monday

One of the best things about holiday shopping from home is scoring a great deal without even putting on pants. However, not everything on the internet is the cat’s pajamas, especially when it’s “95% off!” When a price looks too good to be true, it probably is. So whether it’s a gift for yourself or someone else, before you buy that ultra-fuzzy wearable whatever, read our tips for holiday shopping securely this holiday season.

1. Watch out for fakes

Shop trusted sites only. This is important for both apps and websites. Only download apps from official app stores such as the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. For websites, always type the URL into the address bar so you know for certain that you are on the official page. Note that almost all official sites will use ‘https’ in the address bar to ensure an encrypted connection between the retailer and shopper. Use only trusted sellers and manufacturers. When using auction sites like eBay, always check the seller rating. Also, be sure to study their return policy before checking out.

2. Avoid phishing scams

Examine every deal-themed email in your inbox with a suspicious eye. Never click on links in an email because they could be a phishing scam. Instead, if you see something in an email that looks enticing, type the online store’s URL into a web browser yourself.

3. Don’t store payment info

While you’re hunting through site after site, making purchase after purchase, you’ll be peppered with requests to start new accounts and save your credit card information. We strongly suggest you deny these requests, particularly during holiday shopping. Share, save, and store as little personal information as possible on the internet, always, not just during the most popular shopping season.

4. Put a layer between your credit card and scammers

Third-party payment services such as PayPal, Apple Pay, and Google Pay can give you an extra layer of protection. These virtual payment services can also be handy on mobile sites. However, remember to only shop from your home or cellular network, and never on public Wi-Fi. Doing so will protect your sensitive information, like passwords, from being stolen.

5. Stay anonymous

When you use a VPN such as the one in Avast One, you cruise the cyber highways in a stealthy car with tinted windows. A VPN is an encrypted connection that hides your IP address and keeps predators from seeing personal data to prevent them from profiling you. Your login credentials, your banking details, and your identity stay protected. Make sure you select your preferred country in the VPN application, so the website displays the currency you want to use.

6. Compare prices

Before you hit the digital checkout line, open a new tab and look up the same item in other stores to see if prices are similar. If you haven’t heard of the brand before, research comparable products by leading brands to get an idea of ballpark prices. If your item is drastically lower than the others, you need to think about why. 

This time, let’s say it together: If a price looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Need a creative idea for a wonderful way to show that you care this year? Consider giving the gift of ultimate cyber-comfort. From now until January 3, Avast is holding our own Holiday Sale with up to 50% off our best security, privacy, and performance products for all devices.

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