The holiday season is here, which means shopping, gift-giving, and all the excitement of finding the perfect gift for the people on your list. With the number of scams increasing on a daily basis, it’s essential to be cautious about what you buy online.
You’ve probably already heard the warnings, but it never hurts to be reminded. Here are 5 important safety cybersecurity tips to help you avoid becoming a victim of fraud during the holiday shopping rush.
Phishing is a kind of fraud that involves sending out an email, text message or social media post that appears to come from a legitimate source and instructs you to follow a link in it to enter your personal information. The link can take you anywhere, often to an account in which you have no business being. And once your information is stolen, it's gone forever.
Be aware that phishing emails and texts may look like they are from your bank, the government, other legitimate organizations, or even from an online shopping site claiming your parcel has been lost or stolen. Always check the email address and if it doesn't have an actual company’s name on it, mark it as spam or suspicious.
Debit cards are designed with the intent of making it easier for users to use their bank accounts. They allow users to withdraw money from their accounts instantly and in most cases, without any fees.
However, there are some concerns about the safety of debit cards. If someone gets access to your debit card number, they can use it at any ATM machine and withdraw funds from your account. They can also access your bank account online if they know your username and password. With a credit card, however, you can only access your account online through a secure website that requires a PIN number to log in.
Credit cards provide increased security for online shopping compared to debit cards because they require a personal identification number (PIN) each time you request money from an ATM machine or make an online purchase. This prevents unauthorized access by hackers who might steal your username and password from other websites or social media platforms where you've shared them with friends or family members who have accounts with those sites as well.
When you're connected to a public Wi-Fi network, you may be at risk for online shopping fraud.
The Federal Trade Commission recently released a study that found that more than half of all online shopping fraud occurs when people are accessing their accounts from public Wi-Fi connections. The FTC also found that 40% of these frauds originate from mobile devices.
Because public networks are not entirely secured, any personal and sensitive information can be easily accessed and hacked, including your banking details while you’re shopping online. If you have to, don't make any purchases until you're back at home or at work with a private network.
Passwords are meant to be used once and then forgotten about so they can't be hacked by someone who knows them. But if you reuse the same password on multiple accounts, you make yourself vulnerable to hacks by hackers who know those accounts' weak passwords.
Make sure that your passwords are complex, unique, and hard to guess. For example, when creating a password, use a combination of upper case letters, lower case letters, numbers, and symbols.
Also, we strongly recommend you use a password manager, like HelpYouFind.Me. Here you can store all of your different services and accounts’ usernames, passwords, and notes, all through our end-to-end encrypted platform in which only you and the people you trust the most will ever have access to it. Not even us. This way when it comes time for you to log into your bank account or email account again, you can safely log into your account and look for it.
Don’t venture yourself into buying discounted “luxury goods” from Facebook marketplace or even online websites if you’ve never actually heard a review from someone else or you’ve never personally shopped there before– it’s too risky. Criminals create ads for designer clothes and accessories for you to fall into the trap, and if you end up giving them your money, there can be two outcomes; the first one is that the items never arrive, or the second outcome, and most likely; they’re counterfeit.
When you’re shopping online, it’s easy to get caught up in the search results and just buy what looks good. But if you want to get the best deal, it pays to stick to online retailers you recognize. You want a secure online shopping experience so that your personal information is protected and your payment information is safe. That’s why it never hurts to always check for misspellings!
Buying the perfect gift for someone you love will be stressful enough without having to worry about cybersecurity. Unfortunately, as the number of scams increases every year it is becoming even more important to be cautious about what we buy online.
While it’s impossible to completely avoid fraud and scams, you can minimize your exposure to them by following these tips. If you don’t, the holiday season might be more of a hassle than a fun time, and that just wouldn’t be worth it. But with a little bit of effort, you can have a smooth shopping season that ensures you reap all the benefits that come from doing your holiday shopping online.
Happy holidays from us to you!
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