We are currently in the biggest shopping period of the year. Consumers spent $4 billion during the 2018 Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend – and that’s only including transactions completed on mobile devices. This year’s holiday shopping is expected to exceed that number. But while online shopping does mean you can avoid the lines at your local mall, it does come with high risks.
According to a Marketing Land article, 75 percent of Americans will complete half of their seasonal shopping online. But all that online shopping can also leave your software and data exposed to cybercriminals Here are ten ways you can protect yourself from scams when purchasing those holiday gifts on your company device:
- Avoid Email Links
-One of the easiest ways hackers can reach your credit card information or steal your identity is through phishing emails. Don’t click suspicious links in emails, even if the link is supposed to take you to a store’s sale or discount code.
- Don’t Download Retailer Attachments
-Know that retailers do not hide special deals in attachments. But instead, hackers can hide malware in hidden attachments. Also, be cautious of links to track online packages. Hackers often send fake emails from major shipping companies like UPS, FedEx or DHL. Track your packages by going directly to the delivery site.
- Keep Away From Pop-Ups And Ads
-Not only do malware and viruses spread via email, but they also are in the form of pop-ups and ads. These types of ads can not only steal your personal information but can also damage your device with software such as adware, spyware and ransomware. These harmful attacks can be highly expensive to undo to gain back your privacy.
- Be Wary Of E-skimmers
-One of the most popular criminal tools is e-skimming. The practice that started at gas stations and ATMs has now reached retailer’s websites and is how cybercriminals are able to gain access to credit card data when a customer completes a transaction. Using third party payment systems such as PayPal, Venmo or Amazon is one way to protect yourself from this scam.
- Know When To Use Credit Card vs. Debit Card
-Use a credit card when making online purchases. Under the Fair Credit Billing Act, as a consumer, you are only liable for up $50 in fraudulent charges, but most credit card companies, including American Express, Discover, Mastercard and Visa, offer “zero liability.” Only use your debit card to take cash out.
6. Secure Your Network Before You Online Shop
-Use a private Wi-Fi connection network when browsing sites. Public Wi-Fi networks are insecure and are extremely vulnerable to malware or hacking. With 45 percent of Americans using public Wi-Fi to access the web, it is easy for a cybercriminal to collect personaldata. If you are using public Wi-Fi, try using a virtual private network, or VPN, which can protect your browsing history and activity.
- Free Offers Might Not Be Free
-Customer surveys have perks but don’t get trapped by the explosion of survey and gift card scams. If you’re offered a gift card in exchange for completing a survey, it is likely a scam. Never enter your credit card information when filling out a survey.
- Have Various Passwords
-Do you use the same password for every required login? Cybercriminals know this is a common practice and will use a stolen password to break into other accounts and sites. Don’t be like 47 percent of Americans who use the same passwords, and protect yourself and your data.
- Monitor Your Accounts
-Pay close attention to your bank accounts throughout the season. Criminals will use bots to first make small charges to see if they are processed before making larger, more damaging purchases. To protect yourself from these large transactions, set up alerts and monitoring that will notify you of any suspicious activity.
- Watch For Gift Card Scams
-Have you ever been given a gift card with no money on it, even though it says it should be worth $25? Cybercriminals have been known to write down gift card numbers and use all of its value before the card is given away. No matter if you are the one receiving the gift card or purchasing it, make sure you look over the card itself to check that the card has not been tampered with and the code or pin are still covered.
Don’t let cybercriminals be the reason why this time of year is not cheery and bright. At MDL Technology, your company’s security is our number one concern. By offering services such as 24/7 support, network monitoring, offsite data backups, auditing and compliance and more we help ensure that you don’t need to stress about private information becoming public. Learn more about the services we offer by visiting our website.