It’s that time of year again, holiday shopping has begun!
Everyone is looking for those unique gifts, hot toys and cool electronics.
Whether it is a hard-to-find toy for kids or the latest 4K smart TV. Black
Friday sales seldom fail to pique the interests of even the most casual shoppers.
Yet even after the chaos of Black Friday lies both Small Business Saturday and
Cyber Monday. While it’s clear that businesses are after your dollars during
the holidays, you should be aware that cybercriminals are on the lookout, too.
When it comes to holiday shopping, you need to
be careful that you don’t fall prey to these criminals. Here are some tips to
following for your holiday shopping:
- Do not use
public Wi-Fi for any shopping activity.
Public Wi-Fi networks can be very dangerous, especially
during the holiday season. Public Wi-Fi can potentially grant hackers' access
to your usernames, passwords, texts and emails. For instance, before you join
a public Wi-Fi titled "Apple__Store," make sure you first look
around to see if there's actually an Apple Store in your vicinity, and thus,
confirm that it is a legitimate network. To help stay secure, you should
always be on the lookout for the lock symbol on your webpage.
- Look for the
lock symbol on websites.
When visiting a website look for the “lock” symbol before
entering any personal and/or credit card information. The lock may appear in
the URL bar, or elsewhere in your browser. Additionally, check that the URL
for the website has “https” in the beginning. These both indicate that the
site uses encryption to protect your data.
- Know what
the product should cost.
If the deal is too good to be true, then it may be a scam.
Check out the company on “ResellerRatings.com”. This site allows users to review
online companies to share their experiences purchasing from those companies. This
will give you an indication of what to expect when purchasing from them.
- One-time use
credit card numbers.
Many banks are now offering a single use credit card number
for online shopping. This one-time number is associated with your account and
can be used in place of your credit card number. This way, if the credit card
number becomes exposed, it cannot be used again. Check with your credit card
company to see if they have this option available.
- Keep your
When using your computer to do your holiday shopping,
remember to keep your Anti-virus software up to date and apply all software
patches. Never save usernames, passwords or credit card information in your
browser and periodically clear your offline content, cookies and history. You
will want to keep your computer as clean as possible for online shopping. The
world of online shopping can bring lots of new products to your door step and
can prove to be a lot of fun finding that special gift. Just remember to be
careful so that you don’t make your data a special gift to cybercriminals.