We have Black Friday coming at the end of this week, and Cyber Monday next week. A lot of money will be changing hands between now and Christmas. We want to make sure that you are not a victim of some cyber-criminal’s Merry Christmas purchases with your money. A safe and secure shopping experience both online and in person can be yours if you follow some simple tips:
- Make sure your computer is malware free. If the bad guys are already on board, they can use the information they get from your shopping activities to do a little holiday spending of their own, with your money.
- Never use public computers or public Wi-Fi systems when shopping online.
- Shop only at HTTPS web sites.
- Use credit cards instead of debit or bank ATM cards. Your losses from credit card fraud are zero, but with a debit or ATM card any losses to fraudulent use are your problem.
- Beware of the potentials for card “skimmers” at ATMs and other card scanners.
- Set up transaction notifications with your bank and credit card companies, so you will know when your cards are being used.
- Never click on links or open attachments in emails, and watch for fraudulent browser pop-up windows.
- Make sure your passwords are longer than 12 characters and difficult to guess.
- Set up and use two-factor authentication on financial, email, and shopping accounts. That way a lost or stolen password will not be enough for a cyber criminal to use your account.
- Beware of deals that are “too good to be true.” Often these ads link to malicious sites.