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Tips for Safe Shopping on Mobile Devices and Social Media Sites this Holiday Season

November 2010

Internet security solutions provider BitDefender, offers expert advice for staying safe while shopping online


Today BitDefender®, an award-winning provider of innovative internet security solutions, announced 2010’s best practices for safe holiday shopping to ensure consumers don’t get lumps of coal in their bank accounts this winter.  

Increasingly, holiday shopping is taking place on mobile devices instead of home and office computers. According to the MobileMarketing Association, 59 percentof consumers plan to use their mobile device for holiday shopping and planning. A separate study found 54 percent of retailers plan to use social media to reach consumers during the holidays this year. With so much holiday activity happening around mobile and social media sites, just as consumers need to know about deals, they also need to know how to avoid scams. Follow these tips to stay safe:

Be wary of the small screens on mobile devices:

The small screen on mobile devices make it hard to see a full URL. A link may begin with a legitimate store name but actually redirects you to a malicious site.

Avoid unknown messages on social media sites:

Don’t click unsolicited links that come through social media sites. Social media messages are no different than email inboxes - treat messages from friends or strangers that direct you to another website as spam. 

Keep private info to yourself:

Don’t share personal information like phone numbers and addresses and be selective when choosing friends and followers. Set the strictest privacy settings available.

Social research not referrals:

Social media is a great resource for researching gift ideas, but be weary of clicking links. More than 50 percent of people recommend a product or service on social media sites and hackers take advantage of this. Be aware there’s a big difference between “the iPad is a great gift!” and “click here for a free iPad.”

Too good to be true? Run a background check:

Found a price or product from an unknown site that’s too good to be true and you’re not sure if the site is legit? Check it out on respected review sites as well as with the Better Business Bureau. 

Avoid purchases while surfing on public Wi-Fi:

It’s fine to search for gifts while sipping a peppermint latte at the coffee shop, but don’t enter personal information while you’re out and about – open networks mean a hacker could easily steal information like usernames, passwords and credit card numbers. And if you have to do it, make sure “HTTPS” appears in the URL before adding any payment details.

Be charitable, give reputably:

Social media messaging and text messaging are great ways to donate to your favorite charities during the holidays. However, hackers have proven they can quickly take advantage of these methods to set up fake charities and divert your donation to their bank account or to convince you to perform some malicious actions, like visiting a certain website or installing a certain application. Double check that your gift is going to a reputable charity by checking out the website, and by searching the Net for any scams that might be associated.

Use protection:

While preparing for the holidays – whether planning a party, shopping for gifts or posting photos protect yourself against malware and privacy leaks with BitDefender’s safego Facebook security app, which scans for viruses in messages and on your wall, as well as alerts you to privacy settings that may be exposing information. It’s the best way to stay safe on Facebook this holiday season.