November 29

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.

‘Tis the Shopping Season

(on both sides of the border)

While Black Friday and Cyber Monday participation has been a feature in North America for awhile now they have really become central markers for both the health of the economy and general shopping season that revolves around them. While the continuing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic can be seen in cross-border shopping decreasing, finances being trimmed and reallocated, the general sentiment is still higher than it was a year ago. A study by the Retail Council of Canada (RCC) found that more shoppers were planning to take advantage of sales this year than previously. Beyond health concerns and general anxiety there are some added impacts playing a role this year. Supply chain and inflation worries will be driving shoppers to the sales earlier than the traditional Black Friday with many reporting starting their hunt for goods by the start of November at the latest. 43% of Canadians plan to shop on Black Friday and Cyber Monday up 2%, with Boxing Day also getting a reported 34% interest. While still shook by the pandemic, sentiment is hopeful for more of a return and more of a shopping season.

Making Plans to be Online

Share of spend: Online versus in-store
Back in the Habit: In-store shopping regains some lost ground, but “digital platforms that consumers tried during the pandemic for safety reasons have become habits because of the conveniences they offer” according to the 2021 Deloitte Holiday Retail Survey.

The shopping landscape is always evolving and in-store and online shopping methods continue to blend. A return to brick-and-mortar shopping is being looked forward to by many shoppers but the impact of the pandemic push towards digital options is undeniable. Online shopping is now more than a welcome convenience but has grown into a ‘holiday habit’. The 2021 Deloitte Holiday Retail Survey shows that 62% plan to shop online, down only 2% from 2020. So it is basically holding on to the gains from last year. Anxiety about in-person shopping will be less but the draw of online Cyber Monday deals and e-commerce being a part of everyday lives more than ever means the shopping balance continues to shift.

“Add to Cart” with Caution

While shoppers take advantage of Cyber Monday deals and e-commerce conveniences, cybersecurity threats are an ever-present source of concern that has only been heightened by recent pandemic trends online. With a widened season expected, hackers working in the growing ‘dark web’ black market for private data puts shoppers in a precarious position. Security weaknesses and data breach threats come with the territory now and consumers are increasingly aware of them, but they have also sadly become accustomed to them. In the NTT Safe Holiday Shopping survey 26% of shoppers reported already having their credit card or personal information stolen when shopping online! 58% said they still feel more secure shopping online with reputable stores than smaller businesses. With so many shoppers and online retail vectors available now to hackers they continue to take advantage of the overwhelmed consumers and banks during the season.

The Grinch that wants Your Data

When you’re out there looking for discounts and deals, protect yourself from Grinches trying to get ahold of your data 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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