Online shopping is even more popular this year than it has been in years past, and shoppers everywhere are looking to get the best deals possible. While shopping smart and scoring the hottest new gadgets is certainly a priority, security should be the primary concern for online shoppers. Fraud, theft, and computer viruses can put a damper on your holiday if you’re not careful. Follow these tips from your friendly neighborhood managed services provider to score excellent holiday gifts for the lowest prices, all without compromising your financial information.
Shop Online to Get the Best Deals — But Be Careful Where You Click
Online shopping has a truckload of benefits: shoppers can avoid crowds, have access to a retailer’s full inventory of items, and send gifts anywhere without stepping out of their homes. One massive perk of shopping screen-side is the ease with which shoppers can find and apply coupons. Some retailers have pages of their websites devoted to coupons and offers, and most sites have easy-to-browse clearance or sale sections where shoppers can find the best deals. If your shopping list is still a bit expensive once you’ve applied all of your coupons and shopped in the sale section, you might be tempted to search for coupon codes online. While some coupon-finding services (e.g., RetailMeNot and Honey) are popular, there are still some valid questions about what information they collect, who has access to this information, and what it is being used for. If you decide to use a third-party coupon service, be sure to do some digging and make sure that the service is legitimate. You should be cautious of any service that asks for personal information or access to your data.
Google Makes Shopping Easy
One of the most valuable tools for shoppers this season is Google Shopping. With a few clicks, consumers can find and compare products from all kinds of stores. Google Shopping shows what items are in stock, where you can pick them up in-store, and which sellers offer the lowest price for each item. Searching is what Google does best, and Google Shopping is no different — rather than looking at multiple websites to find the product you want, you can use filters on Google Shopping to track down the precise color, brand, or size of product you are looking for within seconds.
Security Tips From Your Managed Services Provider
While it can be tempting to download every browser add-on or sign up for every email list that offers coupons and discounts, shoppers should take great care when they click.
- Only shop on secure sites, and avoid using public WiFi when you shop or pay for items — PayPal might be secure, but you can’t be sure who has access to your information when you’re using an unsecured public network.
- Use two-factor authentication when possible. Some retailers (including Amazon and Target) are starting to incorporate two-factor authentication into their checkout processes. These added security measures require a code (which is typically sent to your email or phone) to move forward with payment.
- Keep your devices and antivirus updated. Installing updates on your tablet, phone, or computer is well worth the time. Many updates include solutions for security issues, and a robust and up-to-date antivirus program makes it that much harder for hackers to access your data.
Need a Managed Services Provider? Choose Howard Tech Advisors.
The team at Howard Tech Advisors is committed to providing managed services and customized IT solutions to our clients in Howard County, Baltimore, Columbia, and Ellicott City. We specialize in managed IT services for small and midsize businesses, particularly those near our office in Elkridge, Maryland. To learn more about our business and our work in the community, contact us at (410) 997-2500 or visit our website. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to stay up-to-date on our service offerings and tech tips.