Online shopping is popular during the holidays, but it also accounts for almost 1/3 of all purchases during the year (excluding gas, food and autos). What consumers often forget is how to stay cyber secure while online shopping. Here are four tips to remember next time you’re browsing the web for gifts--and as you shop throughout the year.
Charge Your Purchases
Credit card companies take a more serious approach to your account’s cybersecurity. With debit cards, your personal money is being used, while credit cards use the card issuer’s money, therefore, it’s safer to use credit while making online purchases. With debit cards, hackers can have access you your accounts…they work great in the store, but leave you exposed to increase liability when you are on the internet…don't do it. Most credit cards have fraud protection so use their protection online
Use Private Networks (VPN)
When accessing a Wi-Fi network that is public (and usually free) it’s important to remember that network won’t be as secure as you think. Coffee shops, libraries, campuses, and other public places usually have free Wi-Fi that anyone can connect to. The problem with public Wi-Fi is that they usually don’t have security measures in place which ultimately leaves your data vulnerable and open to be seen by others who are on the same network. A VPN is one of the best ways to protect your data while online shopping or browsing. Virtual private networks create a private network from a public internet connection. This type of network can also block other users from seeing your IP address, online credentials, and your browsing habits. Shopping online requires personal financial information, so using a VPN is one of the best ways to hide this information from cybercriminals who might be looking.
Make Your Passwords Unique
Most retail websites ask users to create an account before purchasing any items. While creating a username and password, make sure both are unique and complex. Passwords should be a combination of numbers, symbols, and letters in order to keep your data secure and password protected. Instead of picking a username including only your name, try to add in a number or symbol for added cyber protection. With retail websites, since your financial information is often stored on the website, it’s essential to keep that data protected behind a strong password.
Always Be Cautious
There is always somebody who is trying to find an easy way to make money. With the connectivity of the internet, it is always best to be wary of what seems to be too good…because it probably is. Scams can come in all shapes and sizes. One of the most popular shopping scams come in the form of emails. Phishing scams often target email accounts and even text messages. Look out for suspicious sender info that might look fake or unfamiliar. Never click on in-message links as they could contain more spam material.
We have a new program to train your organization and even do simulated testing to see where there might be vulnerabilities to your business. Clicking on these links could infiltrate your device causing even more damage. Phishing emails are becoming more sophisticated and are always changing so be vigilant and on the lookout for them, especially during this Holiday season.
We want you to be safe not only when making holiday purchases, but also year-round, personally and professionally. Good internet security takes time and takes developing good habits. These four tips will go a long way in keeping you safe.
From our business family to yours, have a great Holiday season.