Shopping online at work is a given, no matter what company policies are. Even if employees are filing their gift list while on their breaks, they still will most likely be connected to the company network. This means that any missteps and clicks to a phishing site can impact a company’s cybersecurity.

69% of surveyed employees admit to shopping online from the office, and if you look at just the millennial generation, that goes up to 81% that shop online while at work.

Phishing usually increases during the holiday season as scammers take advantage of all the additional emails coming into people’s inboxes. Phishing campaigns will be sent out looking like everything from an Amazon order receipt to a huge sale on Apple products.

It’s important to be on guard during this time when doing any type of online activity. To help you ensure a smooth holiday season and avoid any shopping-related ransomware infections or credential theft, we’ve got several safety tips below you can share with your team.

Use PayPal or a Wallet App to Check Out

The fewer sites that have your payment card details, the better. You can protect those details by using PayPal, Google Play, Apple Pay, or another wallet app. When you use these to check out, the retailer doesn’t actually get your payment card details, the wallet app simply transfers the money over.

You also get additional buyers’ protection with many of these services that can help you get your money back in case of a purchase dispute.

Don’t Shop Sites You Haven’t Used or Researched

Multiple scam sites pop up during the holiday season to get a share of the online shopping dollars consumers are spending. Some may send products that look nothing like the picture on the site, others may not ship anything at all and be impossible to get in touch with for a refund.

The most dangerous are those that put up phishing sites designed to steal your credit card details as soon as you enter them. Watch out for these especially for popular electronics like a PlayStation 5.

Do not shop on websites you haven’t shopped before or that you haven’t thoroughly researched online. Anyone can make a professional-looking website these days in just an hour or so. You can’t judge by how good a site looks whether it’s legitimate or not.

Delete Your Payment Details Right After Checkout

Retailer sites can and are hacked, which can expose not only your name, address, and password, but also your stored credit card details.

While it may be convenient to not have to enter your card details if you’re shopping on the same site more than once, it’s much safer to delete them. Removing them as soon as you check out, ensures they’re not stored in a database by the retailer.

Your order won’t be impacted if you delete card details immediately after your order checkout process is complete.

Avoid Being Triggered by Emails & Ads Promising Big Sales

You may have noticed more holiday ads popping up on Facebook. These are designed with flashy images to get you to impulse buy and not pay attention to the retailer you’re purchasing from.

People tend to be more trusting of things in their social feeds because these are intermingled with posts from friends and family.

Don’t fall for these or unsolicited sales emails promising deep discounts that sound too good to be true. The volume of both increases this time of year. You want to stick to buying only from sites you know.

Don’t Shop Online on Public Wi-Fi

You should never enter your personal details into any online form while on public Wi-Fi. This includes your password for a site, address, and credit card details.

Hackers can hang out on the same public Wi-Fi and use software to spy on your activities, capturing your keystrokes.

Instead, switch off Wi-Fi so you’re on a secure mobile connection or use a VPN, which will encrypt your connection and allow you to shop online safely from public Wi-Fi.

Only Shop Sites with HTTPS

Never shop websites using only HTTP. The “S” in HTTPS stands for security and it means that the website has a security certificate and encryption for details being sent through the site.

Sites without HTTPS leave any data sent through their site exposed, which means credit card details could easily be captured by someone else once you enter them.

Get Help Protecting Your Network from Online Threats

ECN IT Solutions can help your Tucson area business with solutions like DNS filtering and email scanning that reduce the risk of online threats to your network.

We’re here and ready to talk online security with you! Reach out at 520-335-7553 or through our website.