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Due to the pandemic and lockdowns, online purchasing over the holidays will be at an all-time high. Many people will be shopping online for the first time or more frequently than they have in the past.

However, as with all good things, there is a downside too. Cybercriminals are noticing this surge of online shopping and are keen on taking advantage to further their goals as much as the rest of us are. 

Online shopping cybercrime isn’t only targeted at consumers either. Your business could be affected, regardless of size or popularity.

So, how can you protect your business and customers from this threat and reduce the chances of becoming a victim of cybercrime over the holiday season?

Keep your website updated.

Content management systems, such as WordPress, are fantastic for building a website quickly and with many functionalities. However, one vulnerable plugin is all that someone needs to compromise your website and steal the customer information it contains.

Require strong passwords and consider MFA.

If your customers login to a customer portal to shop or set their personal information, ensure that your password requirements require that they use strong passwords.

Consider also implementing multi-factor authentication to secure your customer’s accounts further.

Don’t allow customers to save payment details.

Having payment details saved to enable customers to pay for repeat purchases quickly or purchase in a single click can be a valued convenience for customers and a lucrative convenience for your business.

However, it opens your customers’ credit card details to compromise under a variety of situations. For example, if a customer used a weak password or reused a password from another compromised site. An attacker could guess their password, purchase products, and have them shipped to the attacker.

Storing lots of customers’ payment details also runs your business the risk of storing this payment information securely. If someone compromised your website, you could risk losing all that payment information in addition to the personal information you have.

Let your customers know where to purchase from you.

That way, if, for example, you don’t sell on Amazon, but your product suddenly appears there, your customers will know that it’s not a legitimate product.

Let your customers know how they can communicate with you.

Explain to your customers on your website and checkout page how and when they should expect to hear from you. Then, remind them in pre-purchase and post-purchase emails.

You’ve probably noticed that your customer needs to see your brand a certain number of times before purchasing. The same goes here. Remind them enough times, and they’ll start to spot what’s legitimate and what isn’t.

Reduce clicks if possible

In online businesses, we’ve worked hard to make things easy for the customer. Especially around emailing them links to new products, links to their cart, links to purchase information, links to shipping tracking, and many other things. 

Unfortunately, phishing emails‘ take advantage of this. Their main goal is to get the recipient to click a malicious link.

Suppose you can take some links out of your emails, especially in emails often used in scams. In that case, it reduces the chances of a customer falling for a phishing email because they’ll know you don’t send these types of links.

You could achieve this by enabling access to everything a customer needs right from your homepage. 

For example, if your business allows customers to track or manage their orders via a portal, make it available on the homepage. 

Then, in your emails, explain to your customers that they can reach the portal by visiting your website. That way, your customers can go to the website they know is legitimate and start there, rather than clicking a link, not knowing where it will take them.

Explain what the process is.

Scammers try to dupe people into thinking whatever email or phone call they’re receiving is part of the purchasing process and that they need to take some action.

Explain to your customers after they purchase exactly what the next steps are, who and when they should expect contact, and how to track, return, and manage orders. Armed with the knowledge of what happens next, your customers will be able to sidestep scams that don’t follow the process.

Learn what scams are out there for your industry.

How are cybercriminals attacking your industry? Research what is out there and note how you could best prepare your business and your customers. To prevent them from being scammed and protect your brand from the negative publicity from scammed customers?

Scammers will always be out there. However, suppose you can set your business and your customers up for success with the right information. In that case, you can reduce the chances of scams succeeding.

At Think Cyber Secure, we uncover the hidden gaps that cause cyber risk, and develop an action plan that will eliminate the stress and frustration resulting from cybersecurity.

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