Staying safe when Black Friday shopping
Posted October 26th, 2020 by natalie
How to stay safe when Black Friday shopping: both online and at home
Every year in the run-up to the festive season, retailers around the globe join in with the Black Friday marketing campaign to encourage people to shop in their store or on their website with enticingly good deals. But before you embark on the fun-filled, bargain hunt bonanza of an online shopping weekend, it’s important to make sure you’re protecting yourself from any potential scammers as well as protecting your newly-bought goods once they’re in your home.
Black Friday shopping
Black Friday is always the Friday straight after Thanksgiving where retailers heavily promote the holiday shopping season by kicking it off with deals, discounts and promotions. It’s also notorious for showing chaotic scenes at supermarkets and stores where crowds of shoppers gather and compete to snatch the bargains for the day. The event has transitioned to the online retail world too, where shoppers can search for bargains from the comfort of their own home.
Cyber Monday is always the Monday following Black Friday and is a marketing term created by retailers, encouraging people to shop purely online. Retailers often offer discounts and promotions for the day to entice customers to shop online. It follows the same format as Black Friday, but instead of discounts in store and online for the day, it’s just online.
Safe online shopping
It can be very easy to get carried away when enticing discounts and promotions are around for one weekend. We can also take online security for granted when we visit so many sites to make payments on, but all it takes is one dodgy company.
Safe online shopping starts with acknowledging and looking out for the secure sites over the fake or suspicious ones, then doing the vital thing of making sure your payment is secure. It’s not as tricky as it sounds, and there are quite a few simple things you can do to help protect yourself online.
Secure shopping sites
When it comes to secure online shopping, it’s all about vetted websites. One major thing you can do to check a site’s security is by clicking the padlock icon (which should be a closed padlock to show security) before the URL in the address bar at the top of the webpage. Here you’ll be able to to view the connection’s security as well as any valid certificates. If a connection is secure, it means your information (such as passwords or credit card numbers) is kept private when sent to that site. For instance, many secure online shopping sites tend to have certificates issued by DigiCert that show these details: “Proves your identity to a remote computer. Ensures the identity of a remote computer.”
Many scammers try to pass as legitimate sites by stealing branding and logos and using legitimate domain names. There are a number of things to watch out for to spot a fake retailer or online scammer:
Many popular brands and luxury products are being sold at very low prices
They ask you to pay using a preloaded money card, wire transfer, money order or they don’t allow secure payment services to be used, such as PayPal or credit card
Search for online reviews - if there are hardly any or too many poor ones, this is a major red flag
They ask you to pay upfront for any vouchers before accessing a cheap deal or giveaway
Their contact information, delivery address, return policies and terms & conditions are hard to view or information is very limited
Look out for URLs that don’t have ‘s’ on the end of the ‘http’ and don’t have a closed padlock icon
There’s a reason that the major secure online payment service is called PayPal; this is your best friend for safer online transactions. Many banks also offer extra levels of security when paying online using cards, with intermediary security checks, fraud alerts as well as two-step verifications on identity details. If a site doesn’t offer you to pay with credit cards or secure online payment services, and instead offers bitcoin, wire transfers or money orders - this is a big warning sign and means you aren’t protected over other transaction methods.
Online shoppers’ rights
Just like face-to-face shopping in stores, you have consumer rights and are protected under consumer law when you shop online. The Consumer Rights Act protects your right to return any faulty goods and the Consumer Contracts Regulations gives you online cancellation rights. You also need to check with the online retailer what the returns policy is and how many days you have.
Your rights under the Consumer Contracts Regulations:
Your right to cancel an order for goods made at a distance starts from the moment you place your order and ends 14 days from the day you receive your goods
Your right to cancel a service made at a distance starts the moment you enter into the contract and lasts 14 days
If you want to download digital content within the 14 day cancellation period you must agree to waive your cancellation rights
Companies are not allowed to charge you for items they put in your online shopping basket or that you have bought as a result of a pre-ticked box
Protecting your discounted goods at home
So, you’ve shopped on very secure websites, made safe payments online and now you can enjoy the discounted goods you’ve bought from the whirlwind weekend of bargains. Your consumer rights are read and your new stuff is protected under them, but are they protected in your home from potential burglars? Make your home as secure as possible and look after your Black Friday or Cyber Monday goods by following these SimpliSafe steps.
1. Wireless security cameras
Firstly, do your best to make sure goods are not on obvious display; for instance, remember to keep laptops, consoles and high-tech gadgets out of sight as best you can - also hide car keys, handbags and wallets with cash spilling out!
This can be difficult to manage, especially when we find ourselves in a rush. That’s why a home security camera (like our SimpliCam) is your saviour. Have more peace of mind by having your home, goods and family watched over by yourself 24/7 with live HD video and audio monitoring for smartphones, tablets and computers. Intruder and motion alerts will also be sent to you the instant any motion is detected, so you can immediately see what’s happening and take action.
2. Home security systems
If you want to be smarter when protecting your home, consider a smarter home security system. Not only do the cameras you install give 24/7 live feeds to watch over rooms and outdoor areas, they can be vital in providing evidence to police with recordings of intrusions, as well as allowing for police dispatch to your home in the event of an incident with a monitored alarm system.
Another incredibly smart feature is in the motion detecting. The sensors are designed to capture only the unique heat signature of humans, so your pets are safe from triggering and causing false alarms.
When watching over your home whilst you’re away, if a disturbance happens, the smart alarm system will alert the police for you whilst alerting you at the same time - all is covered and gives more peace of mind if you’re often in meetings or travelling on the road.
3. Alarm sensors
Home security and alarm sensors have come a long way, there are now so many sensors you can use to help fend off intruders. Sensors can be placed at all entry points linked to one system or motion sensors can cover entire rooms - again pets can be safe from detection due to sensors only detecting the unique signature of humans.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become fun, if not crazy, traditions as we move towards the festive season. And there’s little satisfaction out there like finding a fantastic deal on something you’ve been coveting for a while. The last thing you need is to be worrying about being a victim of fraud or losing your new purchase to an itchy-fingered burglar. Follow these steps and you’ll be able to enjoy your goodies in peace.