Planning your wedding is an exciting time, but it’s also a period when you’ll be spending a lot of money online, and visiting websites that are brand new to you. In order to find out how to stay safe online while planning your wedding, we spoke to a security expert at McAfee, the antivirus and online security company.
Buy dresses and attire only from businesses you know and trust.
While it can be tempting to purchase a wedding or bridesmaid dress at a deep discount, online offers that seem too good to be true often are. You may end up with a cheap, poorly made knockoff—or you might not receive a dress at all, just a hit to your credit card from a scam website. McAfee’s consumer security evangelist Gary Davis says, “Before you click on the link, check the URL. For example, Amazon.com is quite different from amazon-flashsale.com. If something seems fishy, beware.”
He adds that reading reviews of the website you’re looking to buy from, if it’s new to you, can help you to learn whether or not it’s legit. Plus, he suggests looking carefully at the site’s return policy, in case you receive attire that’s sub-par.
Don’t use public Wi-Fi to make purchases or put down deposits.
Public Wi-Fi is not always secure, meaning hackers may be able to access your credit card information with ease if you’re making purchases or putting down deposits from your phone. Use mobile data only, or a secure home Wi-Fi connection you trust, if you need to do wedding business from your wireless device.
Or, says Davis, “If you know you will be doing a lot of this type of activity on the go, invest in your own personal hotspot or use a virtual private network (VPN) so you can cross things off your to-do list while keeping your information safe and sound.”
Use fonts and templates from legit sites only.
Free fonts and design templates are an amazing resource for couples on a budget or anyone looking to DIY on their big day, but McAfee reports that online scammers have used font and template updates to infect users’ computers with ransomware—yikes! Instead, download fonts and templates from legitimate wedding sites, or other graphic design sites you’ve researched thoroughly or friends have recommended. Avoid using fonts or templates from websites that require you to download media players, PDF viewers or updates.
Don’t use the same password for every site.
As part of your wedding-planning adventure, you’ll probably be making and using a lot of new online accounts, whether they’re registry-, wedding website-, or vendor-related. Instead of using weak passwords (that are easy to remember) or the same password on every site, try a password manager instead. This tool will not only generate secure passwords and usernames, it will also remember them for you and store them—securely!
Be wary of online offers that seem too good to be true.
As you’re planning and shopping for your wedding, you may be using a lot of sites that are new to you. While many are legitimate, there are plenty of online scammers out there trying to take advantage of consumers who just want to score a deal. McAfee’s experts say “sites aimed at scamming consumers may have an address very similar to a legitimate site,” adding that it’s important to also “be on the lookout for misspellings, poor grammar or low resolution images on the sites.”
Build a secure wedding website.
Wedding websites are a wonderful tool for sharing information with your guests. But, says Davis, hackers know how much personal info will be posted on these sites. “Be careful of posting wedding venue details, credit card information, home addresses, phone numbers and photos, names or email addresses of your family, wedding party or guests” on your wedding website, he says. Use a secure site you know and trust and add a password that you can share with your guests only.