Cyber Shopping Safety

Cyber Monday is the day that sees the largest volumes of online purchases in the U.S. every year. This year it is expected that 46% of all holiday shopping (browsing and buying) will be done online. The increased volume in transactions means that consumers must be extra alert for scams, phishing attacks, and other kinds of malicious activity that spike this time of year.

A common hack by cybercriminals is to send spoofed emails that appear to be order tracking links or special offer coupons. Once a person clicks the link, ransom ware is installed on the system, which encrypts the files until a fee is paid to the hackers.

IBM offers the following security basics to keep shoppers safe this shopping season:

  • Be aware of unexpected tracking emails. Cross check the originating email id with previous emails to make sure it is from the actual site. If you suspect that you have received an email for a package that you have not ordered, do not click on any links within the email.
  • Be aware of links to coupon codes. Always copy-paste the codes themselves instead of clicking on links. If a URL must be clicked through to access the code, hover over the URL to identify the target website before proceeding.
  • Use credit cards instead of debit cards. Credit cards have more security features in place. If the card information is compromised, the account can easily be frozen or cancelled; and the company can reverse unauthorized charges if they are notified in a timely manner.
  • Do not use the same login credentials across shopping web sites.
  • Do not to save credit card information on the browser or the website of the retailer. Although saving the information allows for faster shopping and speedy transactions, it increases the exposure to security risks.
  • For password reset questions, come up with creative questions, lie in the answers, or choose questions that are based on opinions, and not personal information that someone who knows you can find out.

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