Cyber Monday Shopping Tips: Keep Your Information Secure
Posted at 3 p.m.
The holiday shopping season is upon us. Many people choose to avoid the hassles of traffic and crowds by shopping online, especially tomorrow – Cyber Monday. However, the Internet is also convenient for criminals, giving them multiple ways to access the personal and financial information of unsuspecting shoppers.
You’ll want to keep your information secure – and beware of online scams and identity thieves. The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team offers several tips:
- Do business with reputable vendors – Some attackers may try to trick you by creating malicious websites that appear to be legitimate, so you should verify the legitimacy before supplying any information.
- Make sure your information is being encrypted – Many sites use secure sockets layer (SSL) to encrypt information. Indications that your information will be encrypted include a URL that begins with “https:” instead of “http:” and a padlock icon. If the padlock is closed, the information is encrypted. Some attackers try to trick users by adding a fake padlock icon, so make sure that the icon is in the appropriate location for your browser.
- Be wary of emails requesting information – Attackers may attempt to gather information by sending emails requesting that you confirm purchase or account information. Legitimate businesses will not solicit this type of information through email. Do not provide sensitive information through email. If you receive an unsolicited email from a business, instead of clicking on the provided link, directly log on to the authentic website by typing the address yourself.
- Use a credit card – There are laws to limit your liability for fraudulent credit card charges, but you may not have the same level of protection for your debit cards. Also use a credit card when using a payment gateway such as PayPal, Google Wallet or Apple Pay.
- Check your shopping app settings – Look for apps that tell you what they do with your data and how they keep it secure. Keep in mind that there is no legal limit on your liability with money stored in a shopping app (or on a gift card). Unless otherwise stated under the terms of service, you are responsible for all charges made through your shopping app.
- Check your statements – Keep a record of your purchases and copies of confirmation pages, and compare them to your bank statements. If there is a discrepancy, report it immediately.
Find additional shopping or basic online safety and security tips with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Stop. Think. Connect. Toolkit.
Reprinted from FEMA’s “Individual and Community Preparedness e-Brief” email newsletter, Nov. 22 edition