Nowadays, there are very few things we don’t do online. We work, stream movies, listen to music, play games…and we shop. From clothing, to books, to groceries – the possibilities are truly endless. In late 2019, approximately 28.1 million Canadians had made purchases online.1
Online shopping can be especially popular during the holiday season. Instead of fighting for parking at the mall and waiting for hours in line, you can simplify the process by shopping online with just a few clicks! Purchasing presents for your loved ones has never been more convenient – and you can do so right from the comfort of your own couch. Due to this year’s pandemic, online shopping has become even more popular. According to Statistics Canada, the practice has literally doubled during COVID-19.2
Got online shopping on the brain? Have you purchased presents for everyone on your holiday gift list? With major sale events like Black Friday and Boxing Day, it’s easy to get carried away and let your guard down. Be wary – shopping online can also raise security and privacy concerns.3 It’s important to be vigilant and protect yourself against scams, identity theft, and phishing attempts. According to data from the Canadian Anti Fraud Centre, over 42,000 reports of fraud have been submitted since the beginning of the year! COVID-19 related fraud reports are at over 6800.4 With cybercrime on the rise, here are a few tips on how to safely surf the web this season.
Ensure a website is legitimate before sharing your personal and financial information.
Shop from trusted and secure websites. Look for the “s” in https:// (rather than http://). An icon of a locked padlock should be displayed to the left of the URL.5
To protect yourself against fraud and data breaches, make sure you create strong passwords.
Set unique passwords for each of your email, social, financial, and retail accounts.6 A strong password consists of at least eight characters, including upper and lower-case letters, symbols and at least one number.
Review your credit card statements and accounts regularly.
If you notice anything suspicious, notify your bank right away. It’s a good idea to always pay with your credit card when shopping online. This way, your bank account will not be compromised.
Beware of false advertising online.
If an offer looks too good to be true, it probably is! Avoid opening emails from someone you don’t know or from websites you haven’t visited. In offers sent via email, pay attention to the spelling of the company name. Don’t click on links – instead, go directly to the retailer’s website.
What to do if you are victim of fraud?
- If your financial or personal information has been compromised, contact your financial institution immediately. Your bank can freeze your credit or debit card to prevent other fraudulent transactions.7 You can also report the incident to the authorities.
- Change your passwords on all your accounts.
- Share your experience with family and friends to prevent others from being deceived.7
No deal is worth compromising your privacy and security. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Shop responsibly!
- 1 https://www.statista.com/topics/2728/e-commerce-in-canada/
- 2 https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/online-shopping-covid-19-1.5661818
- 3 https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/89-28-0001/2018001/article/00016-eng.htm
- 4 https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm
- 5 https://www.pcmag.com/how-to/14-tips-for-safe-online-shopping
- 6 https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/protect-protegez-eng.htm
- 7 https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/scams-fraudes/victim-victime-eng.htm