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Don’t Shop Dumb, Shop Safe

National Retail Federation
Don't Shop Dumb, Shop Safe

Retailers and merchants lose a lot of money due to cyber crime, and the National Retail Federation (NRF) wants to get the word out to consumers: shop safe. In a post this week, the NRF offered advice on how consumers could avoid cyber threats when shopping online. And while at this point it may seem like a no-brainer, topping the list was password security, including: Don’t reuse passwords across multiple sites!

The trade organization said cyber criminals have turned their attention to online shopping because, it claims, in-store transactions have become more secure. “Retailers and other partners have invested in payment technology that makes it more difficult for credit card data to be stolen and used fraudulently.”

In addition to warning shoppers about “account takeover” attacks, the NRF offered advice on fake websites: “Make sure you’re shopping at the right website.”

It explained:

“Cyber criminals increasingly try to fool shoppers with false web domains that look like real ecommerce websites. Be careful that you are on the actual website for the retailer you are trying to shop at — not a “domain squatting” site with a misspelled or incorrect URL.

“If you mistype a URL by one character, you can inadvertently end up at a site that looks legitimate, but whose purpose is to steal information or get shoppers to engage in a fraudulent transaction. Retailers maintain efforts to get these sites taken down, but consumers also need to be aware. Don’t enter personal or financial information unless you’re certain you are on the verified and correct website.”

It also warned about fraudulent shopping tools. Some online shopping browser extensions exploit customer information for malicious purposes, it warned. “Do research on these browser extensions and third-party apps before installing them, and make sure you understand the risks both in terms of security and personal privacy.”

The cybersecurity advice from the NRF can apply to sellers as well as, especially advice about using multi-factor authentication (“MFA”) and advice on maintaining devices.

“Keep your computers and mobile devices updated and patched. By taking basic steps to install upgrades and patches to devices, you reduce the risk that your personal information will be compromised by malware when shopping online.” (Or selling online!)

Cyber security is important year round, but during the holidays, it’s even more important as buyers and sellers can get overwhelmed and make a slip in safe practices.

You can read the full post on the NRF website. Shop safe, sell safe, and as we head into the long Thanksgiving Day weekend, happy and safe holidays!

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.