We all enjoy the convenience of online shopping during the Holidays, but it’s even more convenient for hackers to take advantage of the online shopper. While people are shopping for bargains during the Holidays, they often don’t take precautions when clicking on links or pay attention to what sites they are being redirected to. Some of the most common ways hackers strike during the holiday season are creating fraudulent sites and email messages, intercepting insecure transactions, and targeting vulnerable computers. When you shop in-person, it's habit for most to bring reusable bags, lock the car (even multiple times), and put away your cash or credit card when you’re done with your purchase. Using similar habits can protect you, your purchases, and your identity when you're shopping online during the holiday season and year-round.
Here are some tips and tricks to keep your online shopping safe this Holiday season!
Shop reliable websites. Yes, we know it’s tempting to click on a link that says, “Save 75%” or “Click here to save even more at checkout!”, but is it from a reliable source? Don’t get caught up in the Holiday sales, even if they seem like a good deal. They’re most likely too good to be true. When in doubt, search the company and click on the link through Google.
Beware of seasonal scams. During the Holiday season, be extra careful when clicking on pages asking for a donation, e-cards, or “track my package” emails. Most of the time, people click without even thinking. Be extra cautious and check the URL and sender’s email twice: the email domain could be a letter or number off from the legitimate one.
Check your credit card and bank statements regularly. We know sometimes people get carried away with their holiday shopping, don’t we all! Keep an eye on your bank statements. It's easy to let something slip through with all the shopping you are doing. Sign up for text alerts to help you keep on top of your bank accounts.
Don’t save your credit card information to your online accounts. We understand that retyping in your information for every purchase can get lengthy and tedious, but it can save you from a major headache in the long run! If a hacker accesses your account to your favorite shopping site, they could have access to your credit card information.
Consider paying with a digital wallet or app. Using a digital wallet or app, such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, Venmo, PayPal, or others can increase your transaction security. A digital wallet obscures your payment card information, so the merchant sees a unique, one-time code that’s only good for that purchase. If a store employee or a hacker tries to get their hands on the store’s payment information, they wouldn’t be able to see your credit card or bank details.
For more information on how to protect yourself this Holiday season, or about cybersecurity in general, fill out the form below!