Ashville NC IT Support Company | Blue Ridge Technology, Inc.

Holiday Shopping a Business Threat? It’s Possible!

Are your people Christmas shopping from work?
The holidays are fast approaching, and let’s be real — we’re all scrambling for those gifts, especially for the folks on our lists that are hard to shop for! More than likely, you’ve got an employee or two doing a little holiday shopping on their work machine. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they’re doing it on break time or over lunch. Still, if you and your people aren’t careful, that online holiday shopping could actually turn into a business threat! Here’s how — and how you can keep your business data safe this holiday season.

Online Scams Are Everywhere

We’ve said it before, and it’s just as true now: online scams are everywhere. Well, not everywhere. If you’re buying from trustworthy retailers like Amazon or Macy’s or Wal-Mart — and you’re certain you’re on their actual legit website — it’s pretty tough to get scammed. During the holidays, online scammers like to take advantage of how busy and even desperate some people may be to get that one hot item, or just to save some cash on a big-ticket present. It’s easy to click a link on an ad that seems like it’ll give you a great deal, or give you a chance to pick up something that’s sold out everywhere else. And it’s super tempting to believe these ads and links — because we want them to be true and real. Keep your business safe by sticking to these tips for safe shopping — and pass them along to your team members, too.

1. Stick to Retailers You Know

The simplest way to stay safe for phishing scam is to stick to retailers you know are, well, real. Amazon. Apple. Macy’s. Target. Samsung. If you’re on their actual website, you’re not going to get scammed. The same is true for reliable deals websites, like, Newegg, or Monoprice. The trouble starts when you venture outside retailers you know to be legitimate. Sure, the savings are enticing, but only when they’re legit. If you’re on a site you’ve never heard of or can’t pronounce, you might be in danger of getting scammed. And similar to phishing emails, scam sites often have “tells”: tons of typos, broken graphics, unprofessional design.

2. Watch Out for Social Scams

First, social scams are big this year. You’ve probably seen an ad or two on Facebook already this season that just… didn’t seem right. We saw some just this week, advertising “completely legitimate” NFL football gear for frankly ridiculous prices. The “retailer” was fairly convincing, with a name that sounded really similar to (which is a legit, licensed sports retailer). But the reality is, you just can’t get a (legitimate) Patrick Mahomes jersey from an online retailer for $15. Some of these ads are selling real (but counterfeit or unlicensed) products. But some of them aren’t selling anything at all: they’re just stealing your information.

3. Too Good To Be True? Don’t Buy It

Similar to the social scams we just mentioned, there are plenty of offers on the internet that just seem too good to be true. Nintendo Switches or PS5s or iPad Pros for $99? Sure, that’d be great— but if no one ever anywhere has sold those devices that cheap, this guy probably isn’t, either. It’s almost certainly a scam.

4. Run from High-Pressure Environments

Last, be wary of any online sale that puts you under unusual pressure to buy. This one’s tough, because many ecommerce brands have really upped the pressure (“buy in the next 24 hours for this discount” with a ticking timer). But in general, the scammier the seller, the higher the pressure. If you’re feeling pushed into making a decision right now, that’s probably a decision you’ll regret—scam or no. That’s it for this week. If you have questions or could use additional online safety training, reach out to our team. We’re happy to help!