Which day of the year would you guess the most cyber crime and identity theft occurs? I don’t have any hard stats, but I would imagine that Cyber Monday is likely a great candidate. In previous years we have seen Target and other major retailers succumb to cyber attacks. Cyber Monday 2016 is almost here and you can believe the cyber criminals are already plotting ways to go about doing their dirty work. With 22% of shoppers planning to fully shop online this year, there are many opportunities for criminals to succeed. So, how can you set your Cyber Monday and Holiday shopping experience up for success this year?
- Use a Chip enabled Credit Card – If you will be shopping in a physical brick-and-mortar store, make sure your credit card supports the new chip and pin technology. Setting a PIN on your credit card can be inconvenient at times, but then again, so is identity theft. Setting a PIN before you head out for the shopping season could end up saving you a major amount of time and hassle over the long haul.
- Reputable Stores and HTTPS Secured Site – Shop at reputable stores (think Amazon.com) and ensure that the web site is HTTPS secured. How to tell if a web site is HTTPS secure? The main thing is to check for the lock in your web browser to see if your site is secure.
- Just Don’t Click Those Links in Emails – Our email boxes will start to rapidly expand with all of the email marketing. “Best deals of 2016 cyber Monday” will be a common theme….and the emails will all have links to click to show you the deals. Just don’t click the links. If a reputable company is sending you emails, simply go directly to your web browser and type in the web site URL. Don’t run the risk of clicking on a link that could infect your computer, phone, or tablet with malware (or the dreaded ransomware).
- Don’t use Public Wifi (or if you do, make sure you are using a VPN) – If you use Public Wifi, be aware that your information is likely unencrypted and available for anyone to see. Yes, several major websites will utilize HTTPS to secure your traffic, but there are still many risks with using public wifi. If you MUST use public wifi for some reason, ensure that you are utilizing a VPN to encrypt your traffic.
- Don’t Save your Credit Card Info on Websites – Many websites offer to save your credit card information so that when you visit repeatedly, you won’t need to type the information each time. However, if one of these websites has a data breach and your credit card information is exposed, then it could also impact you!
- Check your Credit Card account Statement Daily – Keep a close tab on what is showing up on your credit card statement. “Vigilance is the price of Liberty” (Thomas Jefferson).
Following these steps will help you stay safe online this Cyber Monday 2016 and holiday shopping season. Happy shopping.