Black Friday and Cyber Monday are almost here, with shoppers all over the world keen to grab bargains ahead of the festive period. But while these sales events are gaining momentum globally, retailer data breaches are unfortunately also on the increase. Some reports claim that fears about online fraud will dampen consumers’ enthusiasm for spending over the holiday period. So just as a thoughtful gift adds meaning to giving, being extra thoughtful about how and where you shop can also help avoid unnecessary stress during this busy period. Whether you’re worried about security, or are itching to dive in to the tempting deals on offer – follow this advice about safe shopping online and you’ll be far less likely to be affected by fraud:
- Share only basic data: at online checkouts only share the information that needed to complete the purchase. Be wary of giving your bank details away, or using payment tools that link to your bank account
- Stick to trusted websites: use retailers with good reputations. Look for a closed padlock symbol on your web browser’s address bar or a URL address that begins with ‘shttp’ or ‘https’ which means a website is secure and your data is encrypted.
- Beware of phishing scams: take care with eemails asking for your details, even if they appear to come from your bank or service provider. If in doubt, call the real business first
- Use your card but don’t let the site store your details: the fewer sites that have your data on file, the better – consider using MasterPass, a digital service that stores all your payment cards in one place so you don’t need to fill out your details each time you shop; or simply click the “don’t store my card details” option
- Keep software updated: ensure you have the latest operating system and install updates and patches for anti-spyware and anti-virus programs to ensure nobody can track your internet use or infect your device
- Beware public computers and public Wi-Fi: if you’re not using your own computer, always log out and close the browser when you’re finished. Free Wi-Fi is tempting but avoid giving personal or payment details over unsecured networks.
- Be cautious in responding to eemails: never respond to suspicious eemails or click on links inside questionable messages.
- Diligent downloading: Select the highest security setting possible on your browser to prevent unauthorised downloads. Only download from sites you know and trust to avoid stumbling onto spyware.
- Keep records: keep electronic receipts as backup. Should you get in difficulties, they will be useful. Review your bank and credit card statements to check unauthorised transactions
Consumers also need to know that they are protected with MasterCard purchases. Because safety and security is our number one priority, we screen 1.8 billion transactions each month to prevent fraudulent transactions and we’re taking many other measures to secure the payment environment.