It’s that time of the year again, when your inbox is overflowing with cyber deals and Black Friday specials on everything from TVs to the latest fashions. And while there are definitely some deals to be found online, not to mention the convenience of having goods delivered to your door, you need to remember that not all shopping websites are alike. The FBI’s Internet Crime Report of 2020 reported that the top three cyber crimes in 2020 were phishing scams, non-payment/non-delivery of goods related to online shopping, and extortion.

Don’t worry though, you can still shop online. A little common sense and the tips below should help you get through the shopping season hopefully unscathed.

Look for the Lock!

Secure websites, such as Amazon, should show a padlock in their URL indicating that they are actually who they claim to be, and that they are a verified website. If you are on a website that does not have a padlock, nor does it start with “https” rather than “http” we do not recommend using it.

Use reputable retailers

This may seem obvious, but it is best to shop directly with retailers you know or have used before. There is little you can’t find in Amazon and all major retailers have an online store. If you are trying to purchase something from a retailer that you have never heard of, has misspellings in their name, or is using something other than .com (like .co or .net) in their domain, it would be best that you stay away. It might be an appealing website but it might just be someone trying to trick you into giving up your information. If you want to give the little guys a fair share of your business, do a little research and find their Better Business Bureau review, as well as additional online reviews, to ensure they are legitimate website.

Consider alternative payment methods

Using a credit card, rather than a debit card, offers more protection as credit cards do not give sellers direct access to the money in your bank account. Most credit cards additionally offer zero-fraud liability, meaning you wouldn’t immediately lose your money if an unauthorized charge is made. Another option is to use a third party payment service such as Google Pay or Apple Pay, so your card information isn’t directly given to online retailers.

Check your statements, often!

Don’t wait until the end of the month to verify your bill. All credit cards allow you to review posted and pending transactions. Flag anything that does not look right, including charges originating from Paypal or Venmo. You have 30 days to notify your bank if there is a problem with your card, after that you might be liable for fraudulent charges if not flagged.

Don't shop in public, or on public networks

Trying to catch up on shopping while sipping your latte sounds enticing but why make things easy for the bad guy by entering your card’s details in public where others might see or using a public network where your traffic is not private? Surf all you want, buy in the privacy of your home.

The holiday season is meant to bring joy, so please follow these tips to avoid any potential headaches that come with online shopping scams. If you are trying to take advantage of online deals for your business, and have questions about a site's legitimacy, please feel free to give us at Hybridge a call or send us an email. We can be reached at 888-353-1763 or at support (at)

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