HALIFAX – Thousands of eager shoppers will be heading to their favourite stores this weekend to snatch up “Black Friday” deals, but along with Black Friday comes “Cyber Monday,” a popular day for online deals.
As RCMP warn, though, the flock to the web by online shoppers is also a “golden opportunity” for criminals, so they’ve got a few safety tips for shoppers to keep in mind while buying online.
- Use only your home computer to shop online.
- Use a different user ID and password for each online account.
- Go directly to a store’s website by manually typing its address into your web browser.
- Avoid clicking on links sent through e-mail, even if you know who sent the message.
- Verify secure connections. When shopping on-line, do not enter financial information if you see a broken key or open padlock symbol on your Internet browser. Those icons mean the transaction is not secure and could be intercepted by a third party. When the key is unbroken or the padlock is locked, your browser is indicating a secure transaction.
- Consider using a company acting as escrow (reliable third party), a credit card with a low credit limit or a single use payment card to make online purchases.
- Unlike secure order forms on a website, e-mail messages are not private. Do not send confidential personal or financial information by e-mail.
- Avoid spam (unsolicited marketing e-mail) by disclosing your e-mail address only to trusted companies and organizations.
- Monitor your bank and credit card statements online. Electronic statements allow you to review your purchases and payments as they happen rather than waiting until the end of the month to review your paper statement. Immediately report any discrepancies to your bank or to the company that issued the credit card.
- Trust your gut. If something seems fishy, report it to your local RCMP detachment through their non-emergency number.
READ MORE: 8 facts about Black Friday in Canada
The RCMP remind folks that if you encounter any suspicious online activity, you should contact your local RCMP detachment or www.crimestoppers.ns.ca.