Today is known as Cyber Monday. Today is the Monday following Black Friday. Black Friday, for those who do not wake up early to take advantage of the sales in the various retailers around the country, is the day where a company can go from the red to the black on their books; in other words, they can start making a profit. Since the Internet begun to gain popularity it also started to sell stuff. I even wrote an article about how online sales vs. brick and mortar retailers might compete. And now we have Cyber Monday, the day when online retailers start their holiday shopping season.
I have purchased holiday gifts online before. Mostly from Amazon, which is one of my favorite online retailers. This post however is going to be about security, and what you should watch out for online when making your purchases. I believe it is a good thing to remind everyone to be careful when using a credit card online. Before we start that though, I would like to let you guys know about a couple of places that I buy stuff from so you can get in on the deals.
One of my favorite online retailers for all things electronics. They have awesome prices on computer parts, as well as systems already put together. If you have a techie on your shopping list do visit them. They have the best shipping record in my book. When I build my latest computer, I purchased 90% of the parts inside of it from Newegg and I got everything in 3 days.
Amazon Toy Store
Yes you heard right, Amazon.com is the place for toys. I have purchased several educational toys for my niece there. The cool part about it is that there are very good reviews of the products from customers. Hearing from parents about how a Toy worked or did not from personal experience is worth a lot more than my opinion on how a toy looks.
Everyone loves a DVD. From your in-laws to your friends. You cannot go wrong with a DVD. It could be a bestseller or simply a new release, but if you know something about that person you will be able to buy a DVD for them. The only legwork is to check out their DVD collection and see what they have already.
Also don’t forget people’s wish lists. A lot of people know a days have an Amazon wishlist, go and make one of their wishes come true. It is really easy to find people, you just have to know their e-mail and voila.
Ok, so those are my store recommendations to make your life a little easier… but what I really want you to be on the watch for this online shopping season is security. The phishing attacks are on the rise along with viruses. Please be very careful about opening your e-mail. Anything with an attachment that you do not expect, don’t open. Check with the person first before you launch even what might be the cutest or funniest joke. Never put personal information on a site that has solicited it via e-mail. I am 99% sure that your bank, online retailer or even ebay will never ask you to change your password or send them your Credit Card or Social Security information. Please be careful.
Also, watch for 2 little clues when shopping online. Before you enter your Credit Card information into any online form you should see 2 things. 1st the URL http thingie should have an S at the end of it. HTTPS means that you are now securely connected to that website. The second clue should be a little padlock at the bottom right hand side of your browser. Always do that double check before you enter your CC on any retailers website. If those two are not present don’t enter it. Also if you get a link from an e-mail that you did not solicit, be careful and just go to the main site, instead of following the link. Just this week I got an email from “ebay” and they had mimicked the site to almost perfection. But of course it was only a phishing attack. Don’t be too scared, just be careful and have fun shopping online.