When you walk into a store to get some holiday shopping done, there are plenty of obstacles you have to overcome. For instance, during the weeks leading up to Christmas, many shelves start to get a little barren as people pick out the perfect gifts, while the lines at the register start getting longer and longer and aisles become more crowded. However, typically, in-store shoppers don't have to worry too much about thieves.
That's not always the case when shopping online. Because a number of people don't always take the best precautions when buying things over the Internet, hackers have started exploiting the situation. In fact, according to a recent McAfee-commissioned study, an increasing number of Canadian online shoppers are just barely skirting criminals when they're trying to complete transactions.
But because Canada is such a tech-savvy nation, there are a number of ways smart shoppers can avoid falling into the clutches of hackers and stop them in their tracks.
Nearly half of all shoppers have encountered scams
According to the McAfee report, 46 per cent of Canadians shopping on the Internet have run into malicious activity. As online shopping increases - the study said that Internet sales will go up by between 2 and 2.5 per cent this year - so does criminal activity.
McAfee listed some of the most common tactics hackers employ so that shoppers can be well-equipped to recognize any questionable situations. For instance, the source noted that people have to be careful when downloading shopping apps, question deals and sales that seem too good to be true, be wary of some holiday-themed travel packages and look at shipping notifications with a fine eye.
Who needs to be careful?
Because the majority of retailers' websites and other ecommerce forums are safe, Canadians don't truly have to be worried. They simply need to take precautions and follow best practices. For example, they must be vigilant in ensuring that the site they're using is legitimate and that there is a lock symbol near the address bar when entering in financial information.
Any Canadian shopping online needs to be sure to be mindful. This is especially true now, as recent information from Statistics Canada explained that overall Internet use, as well as ecommerce, is on the rise. The data revealed that the volume of Canadians going online regularly rose by 3 per cent between 2010 and 2012. During the same time period, Canadians went from spending an average of $15.3 billion on the Internet each year to paying $18.9 billion annually.