Shopping Online Today? Remember Your Mobile Privacy
Today is known as Cyber Monday, a big retail holiday that echoes Black Friday. During Cyber Monday, online retailers big and small offer discounts and free shipping in an attempt to draw web-based Christmas shoppers. If you're planning on shopping online with your mobile device this season, however, you need to make sure that cell phone privacy is your first concern.
According to the National Retail Federation's (NRF) annual statistics, 51.8 percent of shoppers plan to go on the internet to find presents for their loved ones this holiday season, an increase from last year's 46.7 percent. On average, these shoppers plan to do about 38.8 percent of their shopping via the web, a statistic that could represent $96 billion in online revenue this year.
Many retailers make the process of shopping online even easier by offering mobile applications for smart phones. This means that if you are browsing the aisles at a physical store, you can simply open up your phone to compare prices online or find deals and discounts.
If you do happen to whip out your smart phone while out and about, be very conscious of your surroundings. Thieves may see you using your phone in a store and use it as an opportunity to steal your device, then hack into your mobile identity. It may be best to do your mobile online shopping from home or another secure space.
Even if you aren't in public, however, it can be dangerous to share too much information on your phone. You'll need to make sure that you are shopping with a trustworthy and reputable website. It's not uncommon for scammers to set up phony online shops to coax banking information out of trusting consumers.
According to Microsoft, one way to make sure that you're dealing with a safe website is to look for official seals from the Better Business Bureau or TRUSTe. There are also security features on certain browsers that will help filter out dubious websites. It's also not a bad idea to visit sites like Epinions.com or BizRate that provide other shoppers' feedback.
If you plan on doing any shopping via Craigslist, make sure that you meet in public places, and strive to share as little personal information as possible. You may want to set up a second mobile number that you can use to make online purchases through such websites. If possible, it's always best to deal with cash when doing seller-to-buyer business.
Good luck hunting for deals today, and remember - shop safely.