If you want to be safe while shopping — for your retail therapy — have fun but beware.

For starters beware that most small businesses make you vulnerable to credit card fraud and ID theft.

As this portal as warned numerous times,  phishing attacks and malware are skyrocketing.

Android malware has surged via all the Android apps, and new cybercrime serves as a warning to take defensive precautions.

The data is not a surprise. Indeed, on this portal our mobile-banking warnings about security proved to be prophetic.

But if you must, remember these mobile-shopping tips:   

1. Don’t make any purchases using WIFI. (It’s worth noting the most-read Biz Coach column all-time:  Using Starbucks’ WIFI? Security Pro Issues Warning and Security Checklist.)

2. Be careful in downloading payment applications. Use authentic store apps.

3. Only use secure sites. Sites aren’t secure if you if the URL starts with “ http://.”

4. Think twice before you click on anything.

Tips for shopping on your computer:

1. Be careful to use only authentic Web sites. Cyber criminals are misspelling Web site names to trick users.

2. As in Tip No. 3 for mobile shopping, only use sites that start with https://, and don’t shop via email.

3. Never give your Social Security number.

4. Use your computer to check your checking account, credit card and debit statements.

5. Protect your computer by installing all the regular updates from your antivirus and malware software, Windows, Java and Adobe.

6. Only use strong passwords. Note this article, a Lesson about Passwords after Theft of 16,000+ UCLA Patient Records, which is applicable for shopping, too.

7. Only buy gift cards from the original retailer. Don’t buy them on Craigslist or eBay.

Basics in scam-free shopping:

1. Walmart and other retailers are using a throwback – layaway plans. They’re usually legitimate, but be careful to stay current with your payments. Otherwise, you’ll lose your money and your purchased item.

2. Check the fine print on big-ticket purchases – policies on check returns, rain checks, restocking fees and warranties.

3. Know your rights before purchasing memberships in dance, diet, dating, gym, and martial arts schools.

4. For tickets to events, it’s best to use authorized ticket sellers.

5. Gift cards can be tricky. Read the fine print to make sure the card’s value isn’t reduced if you don’t use it right away. Make sure you know the signs the store won’t be going out of business.

From the Coach’s Corner, see these relevant posts:

Secure Your Android from Viruses and Malware with 5 Tips — Hopefully, you haven’t had the nightmarish inconvenience on your Android from viruses and malware, which have plagued many users. Countless headlines detail the cyber dangers associated with Android-based devices. Don’t for a second assume you’d be safer with an iPhone.

Tips to Avoid Advertising Scams Tricking You to Ask for Tech Support — Advertising scams that prey on Internet consumers have prompted four Internet companies to band together to fight the abuse. The scams use harmless-looking ads to trick consumers into using phony tech support that actually enable cybercriminals to invade the unsuspecting owners’ devices.

How to Enhance Security in Your Company’s Wireless Network — Do you take it for granted that your wireless network is secure? Don’t make that assumption. Wireless routers present dangers. Your router is vulnerable to hackers and, hence, security issues. If you’re really serious about security, WIFI might not be for you.

“Knowledge without justice ought to be called cunning rather than wisdom.”


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.