Black Friday and Small Business Saturday have come and gone, but now shoppers are gearing up for Cyber Monday. Each year Cyber Monday’s online sales bring great deals for thousands of shoppers across the United States, but each year, we find more and more people falling victim to cyber-attacks. These attackers use popular, well-known items to create social media posts and ads that reflect trusted sites in order to trick victims into handing over their information. We consistently preach how important it is for online users and shoppers to remain guarded when it comes to protecting personal information, yet many are still quick to hand their information over. Although we see this year-round, we have found that Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales have users spending more time online shopping and less time looking for the cyber attackers who are sitting and waiting for the opportunity to attack.
To make sure you don’t fall victim to any of these attackers, we have gathered the following tips to keep you safe.
Tip One: Look for the “lock” icon on the browser’s status bar, with the “https” instead of “http” in the web address to be sure the information is secure and to help guard the security of your information as it is transmitted to a website. Otherwise, you risk your credit card security, and you may even be vulnerable to getting a nasty computer virus or malware. This can not only affect your computer but your contacts as well.
Tip Two: Keep detailed records of online transactions and be diligent about checking for emails from merchants you have done business with. These merchants may send important information about your information.
Tip Three: Consider your payment options. PayPal and credit cards are your safest options. Paying by credit card is one of the most secure payment methods for online payments. Under federal law, charges can be disputed and consumer liability for theft is limited as long as the consumer notifies the bank or credit card issuer promptly. Many credit card issuers have “zero liability” policies under which the purchaser pays nothing if his or her credit card is stolen and used to make unauthorized purchases. Another secure option to consider is PayPal. This option restricts the vendor from seeing your personal information. Although it is linked to your credit card, debit card or bank account, the vendor is only capable of seeing that you are paying from PayPal making this form of payment one of the safest.
Tip Four: Do not make a purchase using public WIFI, while it may be quick and easy to shop on the go while using your cell phone, this is an easy way for attackers to acquire your information. Many wireless access points, like WIFI hotspots, are unsecured and provide minimal protection against hackers.
According to the National Retail Federation, 55 percent of consumers cited online shopping as the most popular shopping destination in 2018, a 4.1% growth over 2017. With the rise of online shopping, will be the rise of online attacks. Make sure to follow these steps to prevent yourself from falling victim to these scams.