Every year, people are more inclined to buy gifts on holidays like Christmas or Easter for their relatives and friends. The number of online transactions has increased exponentially over the last few years, making us think that buying presents on-line is convenient and safe.
In almost all cases, when buying online , we have no clue about who is behind the e-shop and how to contact them. We put our trust in online ratings, and that is why following some simple practices listed below is crucial to keeping your information safe from hackers.
Beware Of Seasonal Scams
If you shop online during the holidays, there is a chance your data will be stolen. One of the most common scams occurring this time of year is phishing. You can avoid being a victim by following a few simple steps. Check the URL to verify it hasn’t been tampered with. If you’re using an app on your phone, make sure to double check the URL matches the one within the app
Don’t click on any link that has been sent to you if you are suspicious of it being a scam, don’t open it. Instead, call the company directly using their phone number listed on their website and ask them directly about it if possible use a secure browser when shopping online.
Turn your cookies off, use private browsing mode, and clear your cache often. This will keep sites from seeing you’ve been there before. Just remember to turn these features back on when you’re done using them or it can be easy to forget!
Disable Bluetooth and Wireless
To greatly decrease your data being stolen, turn off your wireless and bluetooth when not in use. Be sure to turn off the browser’s autofill and password saving features while you’re shopping online. This will help protect you from cybercriminals gaining access to your information by stealing your browser-stored passwords.
When filling out online forms, be sure to type in both the URL and a unique password for a shopping site. While it may take a bit more time, this will protect you from someone gaining access to your information by finding a free wi-fi connection or stealing your wireless card.
If possible, avoid using public computers or those located in places where others have access to the computer (i.e. hotels and internet cafes). Use your home computer instead if possible because it’s one less thing to worry about; i.e. keeping track of all those super-secret passwords or spending hours resetting account settings that someone else might tamper with.
Thieves use many tactics, including phishing (i.e., sending spam email or pop-up messages appearing like they’re coming from reputable companies) and malware (such as spyware, which lets criminals monitor your activities from a distance, even if you’re not connected to the internet).
Also of concern are identity theft scams (i.e., criminal attacks on large databases of personal information), which can lead to financial loss and other problems for victims. Cybercriminals can use several ways to get their hands on private information; i.e., hacking, rummaging through trash cans, reading private documents left out in the open, or using social engineering (i.e., an effort to trick you into giving up sensitive information).
Shop Reliable Websites
If you are shopping online, make sure to only shop at trusted websites. Look for “https://” in the web address or browser bar and a closed lock symbol on your browser’s address bar before entering any information. If there is no https:// in the web address, do not go through with it.
It may be a good idea to monitor all of your accounts before shopping online. Make sure that you have not been hacked and that your information is secure. If you see any suspicious charges or messages from friends saying that they have gotten messages about items you may have purchased, check into the situation quickly by calling the company in question or changing your password immediately if necessary.
Check the rating of the website before shopping online. This rating is very useful in determining which websites are safe to shop with and which ones may be malicious. Many countries have their own rating systems, so look at these ratings for each specific country you will be shopping in.
Update Your Devices
Update your devices with the latest patches and antivirus software before you go on a shopping spree.
The holiday season is the most popular time of the year to shop online, but there are extra dangers that can put both your identity and computer at risk. Make sure to update all of your devices with the latest patches and antivirus software before you go on a shopping spree.
If you have an older computer, or your equipment still runs Windows XP, that could spell trouble with the recent security breach at Microsoft. Hackers are taking advantage of this situation to steal information from people’s computers. It’s never been more important to update any piece of equipment you plan to use during your holiday shopping.
The FBI has issued a warning about the increased number of phishing sites, also known as bare domain names, and how they can appear and disappear very quickly. You may not notice that you’ve been taken to a different website entirely until it’s too late. By the time that happens, hackers can have access to your passwords, credit card numbers and everything else they need to steal your identity.
The holiday shopping season is the perfect time for hackers to prey on people, so always double-check where you are entering your credit card information before entering it into any site, even if you’re using a secure browser.
As long as you update your equipment and use common sense, you won’t have to worry about any holiday shopping problems.
Do Your Research
If you’re making an online purchase, look for the padlock icon in your browser to confirm that the site is secure. This lets you know that your information, including credit card number and social security number, will be encrypted when it’s sent to them over the internet.
Be sure to look out for links that begin with “https://” which means they are secure, and never respond to emails asking you for personal information , even if you know the sender. It doesn’t matter how official something looks; scammers can make anything appear legitimate with enough practice.
Be especially careful with retailers’ mobile applications or mobile websites. make sure your phone or tablet is secure by checking for the https prefix in the URL, which ensures all information is encrypted. Don’t give out your personal information on social media sites. Online criminals can use that info to steal your identity and then access your financial records.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. There are criminals who try to trick people into making fake purchases by offering gifts or prizes if they disclose personal information via email or the phone.
When you’re out purchasing gifts for friends and family, it’s easy to misplace certain precautions to prevent having your information stolen. It is important that you take the right precautions to prevent a potential data breach so that your information stays safe this holiday season. Stay tuned into Bayshore Interactive’s blog for more information!