5 Tips For Safer Cyber Shopping

5 Tips For Safer Cyber Shopping

The kids have made their lists for Santa, commercials are all about Christmas and holiday gift giving, social media is overflowing with targeted ads, Pre-Black Friday Sales have started already, Black Friday is just around the corner, and Cyber Monday has turned into Cyber Week. It has begun, the holiday shopping season is here! If you’re doing the bulk of your holiday shopping online, here are 5 tips to keep you and your bank accounts safe.

1. Ho-ho-hold on before you click on that email/tex link. Many people fall victim to “phishing” scams this time of year. Phishing emails are designed to look like the real deal, but instead they lead you to a website that is designed to steal your info. Check who the sender is if you are not 100% confident of where the email came from (Macy’s will never use a gmail account), don’t click on it. As technology changes, so do the scams. There are now Phishing Texts to be wary of. Same rule applies though, if you don’t know the sender, don’t click the link. Instead type in the URL – www.blacksheepcreations.net.

2. There’s no place like home for the holidays… for safe holiday shopping. You might be stuck in the airport or at a coffee shop with free Public Wi-Fi but try to hold off hitting that “buy now” button or logging into your account. Public Wi-Fi is just that, public, anyone can access the network, including naught elves who are just waiting to get your passwords, billing info and other sensitive data. Keep it to window-shopping, price comparing, or list making instead of buying. 

3. Make a list, check it twice… and your statements! I’m not talking budgets (it’s the holidays after all, I’m not a Scrooge), I mean check your credit/bank accounts regularly. With online banking and mobile banking, it’s never been easier to see what you’ve spent, where you spent it, and when. If anything looks fishy, contact your financial institution right away to dispute the charge(s). 

4. Santa’s Watching, and so are naughty elves! When shopping online, make sure the website is secure. There are two ways easy ways to do this. Look for the lock symbol; it might appear in the URL bar or elsewhere in your browser. Or you when you look at the full URL address, does it start with “http” or “https”. “HTTPS” are websites with data encryption to keep your personal information safe.

5. Don’t turn your bank account into a lump of coal. Debit cards are linked to your bank account and use a greater risk if your card number is stolen (think about all those auto-paid bills). Instead of using a debit card for online shopping, use a credit card or PayPal account. They offer more protection, less liability and are able to reverse the transactions much quicker when notified of fraudulent charges. 

These are fantastic tips that can be used all year round, not just during the holidays. Looking for more ways to stay safe while online shopping? Check out the links below for more info.

https://www.usnh.edu/it/departments/cybersecurity/tips-stay-safe-online/staying-safe-online-during-holidays

https://www.webroot.com/us/en/resources/tips-articles/5-safe-online-tips-for-this-holiday-season

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