We all love a good deal when acquiring our favorite items, and Black Friday is the paradise for those who love to save and shop. Because of the continuing raises of COVID infections, there has been an accelerated growth of online shopping, where purchases have increased by 6 to 10 percentage points across most product categories (UNCTAD, 2020). Needless to say, even though we are protecting ourselves from infection by trying to stay home as much as possible, online shopping is not always as safe and secure as we might like; it includes a lot of security risks where cybercriminals are looking for opportunities to scam and get away with sensitive personal data.

Here are some tips & tricks to protect your personal data & enjoy some nice retail therapy!

  • Plan your shopping and do research. Most sites have their Black Friday deals already set in place. Do some research to ensure the company is reputable. Make sure they have several contact details available, not just an email address or contact form.
  • Use private search engines like Startpage to avoid price trackers and annoying retargeting ads using their “Anonymous View” feature.
  • Read reviews. Ratings and user reviews are quite useful to know what you are getting yourself into. 
  • Create an email alias with StartMail. This will allow you to create an alias to send and receive email at an email address different from your master account, keeping your inbox decluttered from unwanted emails once you receive your package.
  • Verify the checkout is secure. Search for the padlock icon on your browser’s address bar and making sure that the address begins with https:// to ensure the communication between you and the website is secure. 
  • Install the EFF HTTPS:// Everywhere extension to encrypt your communication with websites.
  • Never give personal information that is not needed for the transaction. Sharing information like your phone number, bank account information, and access to your social media account can leave you vulnerable to identity theft and targeted advertising. 

By the way, if you were hoping to purchase your StartMail account, we have good news. You can get one with our Black Friday Deal! For current users, keep in mind that with the referral program, you and your friend can earn a 50% discount for an account renewal or upgrade. Happy safe shopping!

Sources:
“COVID-19 has changed online shopping forever, survey shows.” 8-Oct-2020 from: https://unctad.org/news/covid-19-has-changed-online-shopping-forever-survey-shows