December 5

How the Grinch Stole Your Data

Buy now!
Biggest SALE of the season.
Hurry, it’s almost gone…

The tell-tale signs of holiday shopping that begin with Black Friday and Cyber Monday are riddled with exclusivity and immediacy prompting consumers everywhere to swipe, slide, insert, and scan their way to the best deals.

Now Trending: Shopping Season

(on both sides of the border)

Black Friday participation has been a feature throughout most of the decade in North America with Canadian shoppers playing ‘catch up’ to the United States for a number of years. In the early years, Black Friday shopping was mainly a U.S. tradition but as the two currencies became closer in value around 2013, the popularity of Black Friday in Canada skyrocketed and never really looked back (though the Canadian dollar did, adding to the need to shop in country these days). A study by the Retail Council of Canada (RCC) finds that Canadian consumers now shop on the pre-Christmas weekend more than the previous top shopping event in Canada: Boxing Day. The RCC finds show that 43% of Canadians are now Black Friday shoppers compared to 34% on Boxing Day and 32% on Cyber Monday. The role that Black Friday & Cyber Monday play in the holiday shopping season as main fixture is undeniable on both sides of the border.

Making Online Plans

Percentage of spend: online vs. in-store; Deloitte holiday retail survey 2019:
The shopping landscape continues to evolve and be driven by the rise of online sources. While in-store spending is actually mostly staying the same more people than ever plan to shop online now as well. The Deloitte Holiday Retail Survey shows 59% plan to holiday shop online, up from 52% in 2016. The shift away from Boxing Day in Canada can be attributed to factors such as timing and online availability. With mobile shopping options bringing increased accessibility and ease-of-use, up 11% since 2017, the allure of Cyber Monday e-commerce draws people’s attention more than ever. The balance between old and new sources continues to ebb and flow with online becoming just part of the blend of shopping experiences over the season.

“Add to Cart” with Caution

While consumers cash in on Cyber Monday deals and online opportunities, cybersecurity threats are an ever-present source of concern. Hackers working in a growing ‘dark web’ black market interested in private data put shoppers in an uncertain landscape of security weaknesses and data breach threats. And shoppers are increasingly aware, and afraid. Deloitte’s survey found that 56% of shoppers feel they have little/no control over their consumer data and 79% of consumers are concerned about shopping at retailers with data breaches or multiple data breaches within the last year. With so many shoppers trying to take advantage of online deals cyber-criminals focus their efforts on the holidays and the fear of threats to private data being all over the place has become a common part of the season.

The Grinch that wants Your Data

While you are out there looking for those holiday discounts, protect yourself by remembering these tips:

  1. DON’T use a search engine to find deals.
    DO go directly to a website you trust.
  2. DON’T immediately click on pop-ups or digital ads.
    DO install ad blocker software.
  3. DON’T befriend strangers on social media.
    DO be aware of numerous social media scams.
  4. DON’T click on email attachments, unless from a trusted source.
    DO delete Cyber Monday emails with attachments.
  5. DON’T use public Wi-Fi to shop.
    DO utilize a secure, password protected internet connection.
  6. DON’T use debit cards for online shopping.
    DO use a credit card for online purchases.
  7. DON’T randomly scan QR codes (those black-and-white pixilated boxes).
    DO be selective in which QR codes you scan, especially in public places.
  8. DON’T include extra personal information when checking out.
    DO fill required fields only.
  9. DON’T use a one-size-fits-all password.
    DO create a unique password for each website, especially sensitive accounts.
  10. DON’T be content with single authentication.
    DO enable two-step verification for sensitive websites and services.
  11. DON’T necessarily create a customer account for checkout.
    DO check out as a guest whenever possible, so your name, address, and credit card information is not saved.
  12. DON’T ignore unfamiliar charges.
    DO monitor your bank and credit card statements carefully.
  13. DON’T be careless with your credit.
    DO monitor your credit report to avoid a stolen identity.

Related Links & Sources

Category: data loss prevention, helpful hints

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