Cyber Monday, Do’s and Don’ts!
With just a simple search of “Cyber Monday”, you’ll see a slew of big-name retailers, Cyber Monday only deals, savings and coupons galore to lure shoppers in. It's truly become the internet's version of Black Friday. In reality, it’s always important to use caution when shopping online, but it becomes especially important during the holiday shopping season when cybercriminals know there are many more people to hit as potential targets. Approximately 75 million people are expected to take advantage of online bargains alone!
To prepare for this crazy time of year, cyber thieves have crafted a variety of virtual scams, phishing emails, and malicious websites in order to dupe the average shopper, who is expected to spend an average of $803 on Black Friday weekend – an increase of 8% from the previous year. So, shoppers and bargain hunters alike: It’s key to know the warning signs!
Here’s your Do’s and Don’ts guide to safe online shopping on Cyber Monday and through the holiday season!
DO: Shop from a secure computer
Any computer or cell phone that isn't protected by antivirus software is more likely to be compromised by malware. So, without it, all data you enter into the phone or computer is at risk including all forms of personally identifiable information, credit card numbers, and bank accounts. Be sure to only use a secure system and keep them updated to the latest software versions.
Data can be at risk during transit if an attacker controls the network. Web protocols such as “HTTPS” encrypt communications. With this in mind, always look for the green HTTPS lock symbol in your browser address window when performing an online purchase.
DO: Use trusted vendors
Remember, search for deals on a specific retailers site, not by using a google search.
Scammers can manipulate search results with deceptive links that look like the real thing. Looking for a specific gaming system? Run a search on Best Buy, Amazon or GameStop sites instead of on a search engine. Restricting your shopping to established and trusted vendors limits your exposure.
Cyber Monday features a ton of legitimate deals offered by trusted mainstream retailers. But be wary: Cybercriminals will prey on shoppers' drive to find the lowest price and will slip in a lot of fake deals! Watch out for emails, pop-up browser windows and social media posts promising huge savings. Clicking on links in messages could be catastrophic for your information!
DO: Slow Down!
Remember to do your homework before getting too over excited about a deal. Slow down and double check everything. Remember-- always be on the lookout for phony URL’s, misspellings in promotional deals and phishing emails such as an extra ".cc" at the end of what would otherwise be a trusted link.
DON’T: Use debit cards online
There’s far less protection against fraud on a debit card than with a credit card. Stick to credit cards when shopping online. If you absolutely must use a debit card, use the prepaid kind with a set spending limit.
DO: Authorize two-factor authentication on all of your online accounts.
Having this extra layer of security with holiday shopping gives you peace of mind. Give your password an extra boost of protection to make cybercriminals jobs more difficult. It’s important to keep in mind that nothing is 100% secure-- it’s not meant to be foolproof. It is just another hurdle for cybercriminals to jump this holiday season.
If a website asks if you’d like to store your credit card for future purchases, decline the setting. While it’s convenient, if a breach occurs into their credit card environment, then your card could be re-used by a cyber thief. If there is no need to store your credit card, then don’t do it.
DO: Use unique passwords and login information for every site you visit
Yes, it's a pain to remember all those passwords. But if one of them is stolen, a cybercriminal will try using it on other websites. Passwords should be as long as possible and contain a mix of upper and lower-case characters, numbers, punctuation and symbols. They shouldn't be reused. If you have trouble handling them all, use a password manager.
DON’T: Install software on your mobile device from a website link
Software from locations other than Apple's iTunes App Store or the Google Play Store, has a greater chance of being malicious. Check to make sure that the app developer is the official retailer.
At LACyber our goal is to guide you to be cautious with your data. The more information you have in your arsenal regarding internet security and protection, the easier it will be to make the necessary safe decisions this holiday season. Your online safety and security are our top concern! Shop Securely and remember the warning signs!
LACyber is a division of Lincoln Archives providing comprehensive Data Breach Defense Services. Lincoln Archives and LACyber are proud to be a part of Lincoln Family of Companies serving the Western New York Community since 1914.
by Sally Rozumalski