Online ShoppingWith all the deals that can be found on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it’s time to start scoring great deals online. But only half of consumers say they can determine whether the site they’re visiting is safe and legitimate, according to a survey by the Global Cyber Alliance. Here’s 6 ways on how to stay safe during the holiday shopping season.

  1. Check the URL of the site you’re visiting. Sophisticated phishing attacks can do a great job of making the site you’re visiting look just like the store you think you’re buying from, but the URL will be different. If the URL doesn’t match the site name, don’t buy anything and get out of there.
  2. Similar to the URL, be sure to check the domain name of the site you’re visiting. Is it on the vendor’s list of authorized dealers? If not, beware. A simple can help you determine who owns the particular site you’re visiting.
  3. Check out the official retail site before using a third-party site to score deals. Some fake sites can be hard to spot, but others are more obvious. The best way to compare is to go to the official brand’s site to look at their web design and logo before going to any vendor’s site. This includes retailers like Amazon and Target, which are some of the most popularly spoofed websites, according to the Global Cyber Alliance.
  4. Check whether a site is encrypted using HTTPS rather than HTTP, which can help with determining a site’s legitimacy. This will also help to ensure any payment details you put in are protected.
  5. Be careful when you’re typing in your shopping sites! A recent survey found that 77 percent of consumers have mistyped a web address in their browser or clicked a suspicious link, both of which can lead would-be buyers to dangerous sites. Scammers often register domains like wallmart.com or appple.com, preying on the simple mistake of typing too fast.
  6. Treat all Black Friday-related emails with caution and suspicion. If a deal sounds too good to be true, even for Black Friday, it probably is. If you have to enter a lot of personal information just to get a free iPhone (a past and current phishing scam), you may only be duping yourself into giving away your personal information in return for nothing.