As November 24th nears, we thought some Black Friday security tips would be useful. We first covered the cyber security element of this relatively new calendar event in 2020. That of course was the year of Covid, when online shopping became the main sales avenue for non-essential shops. Since then, digital sales at this time of year have continued to boom and this has increased the attack opportunities for cyber-criminals. Read on for some suggestions as to how you can stay safe online, from ChatGPT and Google Bard. Yes, you read that correctly; we’re testing these two AI platforms to see which one offers the best advice. Please note that whilst our editors have made some minor tweaks here and there, the information present from each retains its essence.
The following content pieces were generated in both platforms using the same prompt: Please write a blog entitled: “Black Friday security tips: Avoid online scams this year”. If you’d like to let us know which you prefer then we would love to hear from you, and you’ll find our opinion in the conclusion below.
The holiday season is upon us, and with it comes the much-anticipated Black Friday. As online shopping continues to soar, so does the risk of falling victim to cyber scams. While Black Friday presents fantastic deals and discounts, it also opens the door to various online threats. Here are some crucial security tips to help you navigate the online shopping frenzy and steer clear of potential scams this Black Friday.
Stick to Trusted Websites
When hunting for the best deals, it’s tempting to explore multiple online stores. However, it’s crucial to stick to reputable and well-known websites. Avoid clicking on links from unsolicited emails or pop-up ads. Instead, directly enter the web address of the retailer into your browser.
Use Strong Passwords and Enable Two-Factor Authentication
Prioritise your account security by using strong, unique passwords for each online store. Consider employing a password manager to keep track of them securely. Additionally, enabling two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security, requiring a verification code for login.
Be Cautious with Emails and Phishing Attempts
Be on high alert for phishing emails impersonating retailers offering incredible deals. These emails might contain links or attachments designed to steal your personal information. Look for red flags such as misspellings, generic greetings, or requests for sensitive data. When in doubt, visit the retailer’s website directly instead of clicking on email links.
Update Your Devices and Software
Ensure your devices—computers, smartphones, and tablets—are up to date with the latest security patches and software updates. This helps protect against known vulnerabilities that scammers might exploit.
Use Secure Payment Methods
Preferably, use credit cards or secure payment platforms that offer buyer protection. Avoid wire transfers or payments through unconventional methods, as these offer little recourse if something goes wrong.
Check the Website’s Security Measures
Before making a purchase, verify that the website is secure. Look for “https://” in the URL and a padlock symbol in the address bar. These indicate that the website encrypts your data during transmission, making it more difficult for hackers to intercept.
Beware of Unrealistic Deals and Offers
If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Scammers often lure victims with unbelievably low prices to collect personal information or financial details. Trust your instincts and avoid deals that seem suspicious.
Monitor Your Accounts
Regularly review your bank and credit card statements to spot any unauthorised charges. Report any suspicious activity to your financial institution immediately.
Educate Yourself on Current Scams
Stay informed about the latest scam tactics. Cyber-criminals are constantly evolving their methods, so staying updated on current scams is crucial to protecting yourself.
Trust Your Instincts
Above all, trust your instincts. If something feels off or suspicious, it’s better to be cautious than risk falling victim to a scam.
Black Friday brings both excitement and potential risks. By following these security tips, you can shop confidently and safeguard yourself against online scams during this shopping extravaganza. Enjoy the deals, but stay vigilant to ensure a safe and secure shopping experience.
Black Friday is a time for great deals and savings, but it’s also a prime time for scammers to take advantage of unsuspecting shoppers. With the excitement of the shopping season, it’s easy to let your guard down and fall prey to fraudulent schemes. However, by following some simple security tips, you can protect yourself from online scams and enjoy a safe and rewarding shopping experience.
Be Wary of Too-Good-to-True Deals
If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Scammers often use unrealistic discounts to lure victims into their traps. If you see an offer that seems too good to pass up, take a step back and do your research. Check the retailer’s reputation, compare prices with other websites, and read customer reviews.
Shop Only on Reputable Websites
Stick to well-known and trusted retailers when shopping online. Do your research to ensure the website is legitimate and has a good reputation. Avoid clicking on links in emails or social media posts that lead to unfamiliar websites. Instead, type the retailer’s URL directly into your browser.
Look for Security Signs
Before entering any personal or financial information, make sure the website is secure. Check for the HTTPS symbol in the address bar and a padlock icon next to it. These symbols indicate that the website is using encryption to protect your data.
Use Strong Passwords and Two-Factor Authentication
Create strong and unique passwords for all your online accounts. Avoid using easily guessable information like your birthday or pet’s name. Additionally, enable two-factor authentication (2FA) whenever possible. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring a code from your phone or email in addition to your password.
Beware of Phishing Emails
Scammers often send phishing emails that appear to be from legitimate companies. These emails may contain links that redirect you to fake websites or ask for your personal information. Be cautious of any emails you receive, especially those that contain urgent requests or seem too good to be true.
Never Share Personal Information Over Public Wi-Fi
Avoid making online purchases or accessing sensitive information when connected to public Wi-Fi networks. Public Wi-Fi networks are often less secure and more susceptible to hacking. If you must access sensitive information on a public network, use a VPN (virtual private network) to encrypt your data.
Review Your Credit Card Statements Regularly
Keep an eye on your credit card statements for any unauthorised charges. Report any suspicious transactions immediately to your bank.
Don’t Fall for Social Media Scams
Scammers may also use social media platforms to spread phishing links and fake ads. Be cautious of any messages or posts that ask for your personal information or encourage you to click on suspicious links.
Be Smart About Social Media Sharing
Avoid sharing too much personal information on social media, such as your birthday, address, or travel plans. This information can be used by scammers to target you with personalised scams.
Educate Yourself About Online Scams
Stay informed about the latest online scams by reading reputable news sources and cybersecurity blogs. The more you know about common scams, the better equipped you’ll be to protect yourself.
By following these tips, you can protect yourself from online scams and enjoy a safe and secure Black Friday shopping experience. Remember to be cautious, do your research, and always use trusted sources for your shopping.
What then is the verdict, we hear you ask? In this example, both ChatGPT and Bard offer good advice for people in a fairly succinct fashion. Neither platform incorporates any overly complex technical jargon, and each one covers mostly the same key points. The main difference seems to be a lack of concern from ChatGPT over potential social media-related threats.
What do you think?
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