Avoid Falling Prey to Online Shopping Bait This Festive Season

For a moment, I thought this crazy friend of mine had finally lost it. She was staring at her laptop screen, multiple sites open, checking out various apparels at once and muttering under her breath.

Is there a problem?” I hesitantly asked.

I have to attend this destination wedding and they have theme parties, and I don’t have anything to wear in the required colours!” she wailed.

Ah well! Hence the shopping websites.” I realized.

Well, two heads are better than one, they say, and together we made all the purchases in record time. Needless to say, I insisted she used a secure device, limited her searches to trusted websites (using McAfee WebAdvisor), read the reviews and used prepaid credit cards. Cyber safety first and always.

But the ordeal was far from over. “You are Godsent! Now help me search for gifts!

While most of the world celebrates the year-end period as the Festive Season, we in India have a bigger reason to shop- It’s the Shaadi (marriage) season as well! It’s that time of the year when everyone seems to be getting married- resulting in endless parties, snarling traffic, overcrowded shops and packed salons. With most women juggling home and professions, fitting in shopping becomes a tough task. Online shopping is therefore the perfect solution for time-challenged urbanites.

And you can hardly blame them. As they sip their chai after a stressful day, they can simultaneously choose and place their orders and it’s done! No wonder the e-commerce market in India is expected to reach US$ 64 billion by 2020, as per a report by India Brand Equity Foundation!

Unfortunately, when it comes to online shopping, consumers are more concerned about finding a bargain deal and making the most of ‘Flash’ sales than their online security. They risk the dangers of hacking, being scammed and having their personal details and banking credentials stolen in their haste to make a good buy.

The Survey

Recently, McAfee conducted a survey, Holiday Stresses, which revealed the risky habits of online shoppers. The survey found that though consumers are aware of potential risks of online shopping, they still preferred it to the traditional system. It is interesting to note that 77 percent of respondents say that shopping during festive season induces increased financial stress!

The Online Shopping Trap

So, what kind of risks are consumers taking to get the best deals or while shopping in a hurry online?

  • 30% said that they would share their home address
  • 45% would share their phone numbers
  • 19% would risk sharing their bank details
  • 68% are willing to use a website they are unfamiliar with

 The Positives

But all is not lost. Indian shoppers are evolving to adopt safer online buying habits. Wow!

  • Nearly 74% say they would research an unfamiliar site and establish its authenticity before making purchases
  • 55% said they will not make a purchase over an unsecure Wi-Fi connection
  • 55% check their bank statements more often during the holiday festive season
  • 59% consumers would report receiving a phishing email

McAfee shares easy tips to help you stay safe while shopping online:

  • Always connect to public Wi-Fi with caution. Public Wi-Fi might seem like a good idea, but if consumers are not careful, they could be unknowingly be exposing personal information or credit card details to cybercriminals who are snooping on the network. If you have to conduct transactions on a public Wi-Fi connection use a virtual private network (VPN) to help keep your connection secure.
  • Think before you click. One of the easiest ways for a cybercriminal to compromise their victim is by using phishing emails to lure consumers into clicking links for products or services that could lead to malware, or a phony website designed to steal personal information. If the deal seems too good to be true, or the email was not expected it’s always best to check directly with the source.
  • Browse with security protection. Use comprehensive security protection, like McAfee Total Protection, which can help keep devices protected against malware, phishing attacks, and other threats. It includes McAfee WebAdvisor which can help identify malicious websites.

Let not financial or data losses mar the joys of the festive season for you and your loved ones. Take charge of your digital lives. Just like you secure your house, car and other belongings, similarly, secure your devices and use trusted websites for shopping.

Have a great time folks!


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