As holidays come closer (and closer), millions are expected to buy gifts for their loved ones. Most probably, many would do shopping online to avoid consuming so much time and effort as compared to physical shopping. However, this season is also the perfect time for cyber crimes, where hackers and criminals are more likely to steal customer’s credit card and personal information given when they shop online.
During holiday season, “Identity theft and breaches exposing personal and financial information remain at high levels,” said Eva Velasquez, CEO of California-based Identity Theft Resource Center, which offers free assistance to identity theft victims.
“It’s important to protect yourself online because a lot of your personal information is now digitally accessible,” said Mark Ignacio, a computer science major who serves as president of Hack@UCG (a Collegiate Cyber Defense Club).
Read this acrostic post to help you shop safely online:
Security. According to Global Security Strategist at Fortinet, a network security company, “Security has now become a board room discussion in light of many breaches. The realization is that attacks will continue, and it is best to be proactively prepared.”
Online shopping has become more prevalent, but also more risky for cyber crime. Understand that the more people spend time shopping online, the higher is the possibility of cyber security issues becoming more prevalent, since cyber criminals take advantage of the demand. Be extra vigilant at all times: before, during, and even after you shop.
Protect your computer. Your computer should always have the most recent updates installed for spam filters, anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and a secure firewall.
Stick to trustworthy websites. Before giving out your private information, be sure that the website you are in is encrypted, which means it is trustworthy. In your internet browser, look for the URL that starts with HTTPS and/or having a lock icon. This is an industry standard required for any retailer that processes credit cards.
Avoid using public WiFi or hot spots when shopping. Or never use it at all. Public WiFi connection most commonly found on hotels, coffee shops and libraries, among others, are known to be insecure networks since anyone can snoop on the data you input while using it. Be wary of connecting to these untrusted networks, unless you’re using a security software like a VPN.
FrootVPN. Use only the best VPN service. Using a VPN service when connecting to the internet will make your data more secure since a VPN will encrypt all your traffic and data, keeping information away from the prying eyes of anyone with the right skills to hack on your private information. Choose a best VPN like FrootVPN which offers an ultra secure, encrypted and high speed VPN service at the most affordable prices.
FrootVPN is the ultra secure VPN that protects your real IP address and location, so you are untraceable to anyone, for you to surf anonymously and secure your web browsing activities. It offers 2048-bit encryption, with multiple internet connectivity protocols that matches your needs. Support for any of your devices is also given, with unlimited bandwidth and high speed connection to match your jolly spirit this holiday season.
Enable two-step user authentication. This is best for email programs and large retailers since it is an easy and cost-effective way of securing yourself. Through the two-factor authentication, even if they’ve gotten hold of your password, another code can be verified only by you for added layer of security.
Look out for misrepresentations. Sellers may not misrepresent important characteristics of a product or use “bait-and-switch” tactics to lure you in with one advertised product only to encourage buying more expensive items.
You should keep a close eye on credit card transactions. Monitoring your accounts, such as checking credit card and bank accounts for unauthorized charges or unexpected activity, will help you avoid making the problem much worse. If any suspicious activity is found, you can immediately notify your credit card provider or bank.
Only download apps from trusted sources. Only download store apps from reputable sources such as Apple Store or Google Play store, since they have an additional layer of security and encryption to ensure that a customer’s information is safe.
No to using debit cards. Use credit cards instead. Credit cards are the safest options when shopping online because transactions are protected by laws, especially for unauthorized access.
Large online retailers are more trustworthy. Major online shopping e-commerce like Amazon and eBay generally are more reliable and secure when it comes to their transactions.
If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is a scam or a fraud. You just choose between the two. Holiday shopping deals are pretty amazing, but if a deal sounds too good to be true, then trust your common sense. Do your homework if you’re having doubts whether a deal is legitimate or not. This way, you can avoid scams and con-artists’ works.
Never give your Social Security Number. If a site asks for your Social Security Number even if you’re just making simple transactions, then that’s a big no-no. That’s more likely to be a fraud. Shopping websites should only need information such as your name, shipping address, and credit card number. Nothing more.
Ensure that you are using strong passwords for your account. Passwords are like the first key to your house door. Never leave it where anyone could just get it easily, more so, never make a password so easy to hack. Strong passwords provide the first layer of security for your account to not be compromised.