Holiday Stress Can Make You More Careless Online
Holiday stress. Every year, come November, my resting heart rate starts to rise: the festive season is approaching. Not only is there so much to do but there’s so much to spend money on. There are presents to purchase, feasts to prepare and party outfits to buy. Throw in a holiday to fill the long Summer break, and both the credit cards and my stress levels are starting to rapidly increase!
Holiday Financial Stress Results in Poor Decision Making Online
But did you know that this stress can affect our online safety? Research conducted by McAfee shows that almost 80% of us believe the holiday period causes financial stress. And nearly half of us (46%) believe the stress of the holiday season can cause us to behave carelessly online. Risky behaviours can put our online safety at risk. For instance, using public Wi-Fi to snag a last-minute purchase. Or buying something from an unfamiliar website because it’s cheaper.
Aussie Shoppers Love an Online Bargain
In 2017, Aussies spent a record $21.3 million online – a whopping 19% increase over 2016. McAfee’s research shows that Aussie consumers love securing a bargain online – who doesn’t!! But many will seek out a great deal even if it means potentially jeopardising their online safety. The research shows that 64% of consumers are willing to use an unfamiliar website if it means they can save money on their purchase. Even more concerning, a third of Aussies admitted to clicking links in suspicious emails for better deals!! Yikes!!
The Thing Is, Cyber Criminals Love Your Holiday Shopping Too
Cyber criminals work very hard to take advantage of us during the busy Holiday season. They come up with all sorts of ingenious ways to target time-poor and budget-conscious consumers online. They know very well that many of us will cut corners with our online security. Particularly if we think we can save money on presents, outfits or even a holiday.
And they scheme accordingly: charity phishing emails, fake online stores, bogus delivery emails, e-voucher scams and more. Cyber criminals have tried and tested strategies to either steal our personal information or our identity.
How You Can Stay Safe While Shopping Online This Holiday Season
So, don’t feel like you need to battle the crowds at Westfield this festive season. You can still shop online safely if you follow a few simple steps:
Connect with Caution
Public Wi-Fi is just so convenient, but it is a risky business. Users could unknowingly share their personal information with cyber criminals who are snooping on the network. So, if you absolutely have to use public Wi-Fi for a great online shopping deal, always use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) such as McAfee Safe Connect which creates a bank-grade encrypted connection.
Think Before You Click
One of the easiest ways for a cyber criminal to target victims is using phishing emails to trick consumers into sharing their personal information. Phishing emails could be disguised as holiday savings or even a shopping notification. Instead of clicking on a link in an email, always check directly with the source to verify an offer or shipment.
Always Shop with Security Protection
Shopping online without security protection is like driving without a seat belt – dangerous! Comprehensive antivirus software like McAfee Total Protection will help shield your devices against malware, phishing attacks and other threats. It also provides a firewall, an anti-spam function, parental controls and a password management tool. A complete no-brainer!
But this year, I’m going to commit to lowering my stress. That way I can really enjoy my time with my family and friends. To get ahead of the game I plan to:
- Start my online shopping earlier so I don’t ‘cut corners’ with my online safety,
- Create a realistic budget, and
- Start filling my freezer with some holiday food – now
And most importantly, get that resting heart rate under control!!
Happy Holidays Everyone!