Safe Holiday Shopping: Tips and Best Practices
Although the deals are tempting, the abundance of special holiday listings makes it easy for cybercriminals and scammers to exploit the savviest of deal seekers. Finding ways to protect your online identity is important. When shopping for gifts for your friends and family online, keep these tips in mind for a safer shopping experience this season.
To keep your devices and information protected:
Avoid public Wifi networks, unsecured sites, outlandish offers, and suspicious email offers
Create a new email address for online purchases and store accounts
Utilize two-factor-authentication on accounts and devices when possible
Defend devices and stored data by updating firmware and utilizing antivirus software
Check for inaccuracies on your bank statements and credit card bills
What To Avoid
Public or other unlocked Wifi Networks
If actively monitored by a cybercriminal, the information you exchange through an unsecured network could be intercepted and exploited.
It’s recommended that you wait until you’re connected to a private and secure network before making purchases.
Suspicious looking emails and phishing attacks
Phishing is a common email strategy used during the holiday season. It’s designed to lure vulnerable online shoppers into willingly handing over their private information. These tactics are successful because the emails seem like an authentic warning or opportunity at first glance.
If you’re suspicious, trust your gut and handle the email with care. Don’t open unknown attachments, links, or share login information that could be “required to resolve an issue”.
Fake websites and unbelievable deals
We’ve all seen websites and deals that are obviously fake. They tend to pop up around the holiday season, so Google advises checking the authenticity of the site, cart, and checkout pages to confirm the URL say HTTPS. Marking domains labeled HTTP as unsecured sites make it easier to identify sources that should be avoided.
Tools To Utilize
New email address
Create a new email using a secure password, use it only for online purchases and store accounts to easily track orders and shipping related emails.
Advanced security tools
When it comes to security tools, you have plenty of options; from free to paid subscriptions, widgets, or apps. Many online accounts and devices can be protected by two-factor-authentication, however, if that’s not an option, a unique and highly secure password is recommended.
For an added layer of security while making online purchases this season, consider utilizing a Virtual Private Network to encrypt and hide your online transactions.
Software updates and patches
Enabling automatic updates is an easy way to keep yo