The festive season 2020: How to shop safely online

Thanks to COVID-19 the Festive Season promises to be somewhat different to what we’ve been used to. Afterall we’re used to the Christmas rush and surge of in-store crowds and mayhem as people grab a gift and wrapping paper before it too late. As trolleys piled high of gifts and Christmas goodies of turkey, Christmas cake, and all the delicious foods we love at this time of year. But with social distancing and each store having a maximum quota of customers, retailers will be looking to drive your dollar online.

The shops have already filled their stores with early Christmas decorations helping us remember where we need to find the “hope” and “joy” in this COVID year of lockdown and isolation. In Christmas of course, a time of family, friends, celebrations and gift giving.  And to gently us to remind us to buy from their store. But if you intend to go to physical stores, then there’s a few things you’ll need to keep in mind.

The Festive Season: Not spared from lockdown

To keep crowds to a minimum stores are having fewer sales in-store and are offering more online deals. This is true for Black Friday and all the special offers leading up to Christmas. As a result it may affect the speed of your delivery, as online shopping has increased as much as 75% already during the pandemic. For instance, Australia Post was super busy during the pandemic with all the online ordering and is now hiring more staff in time for the Christmas rush.

Certainly, during the potential increase in sales retailers are usually excited! But this year it could prove a little more frustrating. Firstly, there’s the promise of in-store problems with customers just not being allowed in due to store capacity numbers. Secondly, the downtime of their websites, offline capacity issues. In other words, this will concern businesses especially the small-medium ones who are trying to recuperate some of those lost income due to lockdown. They could well feel the pinch.

Lastly, with possibility of increasing sales online, comes the potential of more risk of online scammers hunting for targets. To beat the internet scams coming Christmas season, here are tips to help you survive.

Staying safe during the Festive Season: Our tips

  1. If emails appear to be coming from a known retailer and asking for login details and/or supplying you with links which look different to the normal URL. Be cautious! Most business have spell check and use proof-read templates, so errors are unusual. So, if you see a grammatical error. Be suspicious! Likewise HTTPS doesn’t mean the site is legitimate; anyone can get a free HTTPS certificate these day. Be on the lookout.
  2. It’s generally safer to use a credit card online rather than a debit cards tied to your bank account. To clarify, debit cards means the money leaves your account and can be harder to get it back than with a credit card.
  3. Scammers may compromise legitimate sites or try to direct you to malware-laden sites in the lead-up to Christmas. Therefore, before heading off to the online shopping no stop shop
    • make sure your operating system is up to date
    • your security software is running the latest version
    • and you’ve got all the in-browser plugin protection you need.
  4. Watch out for shortened links on social media, as they may be hiding nasty surprises.
  5. Firstly, any giveaway that’s FREE is a tempting offer but you’ll want to ensure the account running the promotion is fair-dinkum. Can you verify their presence on social media? Are you familiar with the account? Social etiquette top tip: some of your friends won’t like lots of competitions and raffles dropped into their timelines. Perhaps you might consider running a standalone account just for competitions. Your friends and family will appreciate you not spamming their feed. Try not to fall for “retweet/share to win a prize” tricks yourself. But if you do end up retweeting something bad, you’ll minimise the impact if you’re not send it to your contacts list.

Further resources for keeping yourself secure

To help with the above tips, here are some blogs you may find useful

Shop safely in 2020

When it comes to shopping, the Festive Season is going to be a bit of a different situation. For some people they prefer not to venture out into any crowded areas and wait in long queues for Christmas. By staying at home and doing your online shopping,

  1. you get to browse as- long as you like
  2. a quick purchase is just at your fingertips
  3. avoid driving around and around trying to find that elusive car space
  4. no bumping into people
  5. get a great bargain online

Above all, you’ll reduce the potential COVID-19 risk.

But you will need to ensure your online security is up to date.  This could be the perfect time to have a bit of a spring clean it terms of your security.

Stay safe during this Christmas Season, whether your planning on shopping online or in-store.