Are you shopping online on Cyber Monday this year? It’s more convenient than ever before to make purchases online that are delivered right to your door. But it’s important to remember that shopping online is an opportunity for cyber criminals. You need to protect yourself from identity theft and we want to help.
Tips for Safe Cyber Spending
We want your online shopping experience to be successful and stress-free. Here are a few tips to help protect you when shopping online.
1. Use a Trusted and Secure Website
The site is secured if there is a padlock at the beginning of the URL address and if the address starts with https. The “s” is for secure.
2. Document your Purchases
Save order confirmation emails that include the details of your purchase. Carefully check the details of your order such as order number, items purchased, quantities of each item, and shipping and tracking numbers.
3. Mobile Malware
Many consumers will use smartphones and tablets for holiday shopping. It is important to keep security updates current and to install some type of security or virus protection software. Tip #1, above, also applies to smartphones and tablets.
4. Use Credit Cards Instead of Debit Cards
Credit cards have built in security protection in case something happens to your account while most debit cards don’t. Most credit cards also have an extended return policy and warranties. Many retailers limit returns to 30 days but some credit cards extend the policy to 90 days.
5. Make Sure Your Computer Software is Up-to-Date
During holiday shopping, online fraud will increase. Protect your computer with the most current antivirus software, computer updates, internet browser, and Adobe and Java software.
6. Watch out for Holiday Phishing Scams
Common holiday phishing scams include emails that look legitimate. They may appear to confirm an order and they may include attachments. If you didn’t purchase from that store, it’s a scam! First, do not open any attachments. Second, don’t click on any links in the email. Call the company to verify the purchase if you are unsure of the sender.
7. Beware of Holiday Smishing Scams
Smishing is when a scammer sends a fake text message to your smartphone stating that your bank account has been compromised and requesting a call. If you call back they will ask for personal information. Never return the call or provide this type of information via text or a phone call. Always check with your bank directly. Banks will not ask for this information via a text message.
8. Online Coupon Scams
Many scammers lure online shoppers by offering “free” items such as iPads in the form of a coupon. Clicking the coupon link can result in email spam or even identity theft. If it’s too good to be true, it’s probably a scam. Be cautious when clicking online coupon codes. Be doubly cautious when providing personal and credit card information. If the site is fraudulent, cyber criminals will have your information. Again, remember Tip #1.
9. Malicious Content on Social Media Sites
Sites like Facebook and Twitter may contain fraudulent information. Pay close attention to fake profiles, especially businesses. Hackers know how to lure shoppers in to get personal information and money.
At Garner IT Consulting, we can help you avoid phishing, smishing, and other fraudulent scams. We want you to be safe while shopping online this holiday season and throughout the year. Our tips above will help you avoid online fraud. Garner IT Consulting is always here to answer any questions you might have. You can contact us below and submit any questions or comments. And feel free to call our offices at 850 250-3210 or drop by at 1330 Harrison Avenue, Panama City, Bay County, Florida.
Best wishes and happy shopping!
Randall and Julie Garner and the entire Garner IT team of professionals