It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year….for Cybercriminals

November 11, 2018

Cyber Monday is the biggest day of the year for online shopping:  US shoppers spent $6.6 billion in 2017¹, and are expected to spend even more in 2018.

 

But in the rush to buy before the day is over, shoppers may take risks that they normally wouldn’t—giving cybercriminals opportunities for a big payday.

Here’s how to help keep yourself safe while scouting for deals online:

Shop with a credit card, not a debit card

If your debit card is hacked, your bank account could be cleaned out. Although most banks refund everything you’ve lost if you inform them promptly, it won’t be instant and may involved some paperwork . Plus, you could be inconvenienced if your balance drops too low, as automatic deductions could be rejected and your bank might charge you fees if you don’t maintain a minimum balance.

Use the same card for all online shopping

That way, only one card is put at risk.

Don’t click on pop-ups or emails offering special deals

Instead, go to the seller’s website. If the deal is legitimate, it will be offered there as well.

Do not re-use passwords

Once a cyber criminal has your password, they may use a robot to automatically try that password at thousands of other sites. If you’ve used the same password at multiple places, more than one account will be in trouble.

Don’t use public Wi-Fi for shopping or banking

These Wi-Fi networks are easily hacked and your personal information could be stolen. Instead, do your shopping from home on your own secure Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection.

Use a comprehensive personal cybersecurity service

No matter how careful you are, much of your risk is not under your control. Dozens of organizations have your data in their computers, and if they suffer a data breach, your date of birth, social security number, home address and other details could be up for sale on the Dark Web. More than half of all American adults were victims of the 2017 Equifax breach, and another 146 billion records are expected to be exposed by new breaches over the next five years.²

A personal cybersecurity solution such as Identity Guard can help protect you in a variety of ways.

  • You’ll receive alerts if someone attempts to use your information to open a new account.
  • Artificial intelligence developed by IBM will scan the Internet to learn about new security issues related to companies you do business with, and promptly inform you, so you can act quickly to prevent losses.
  • You’ll be notified if your personal identifiers, such as you SSN #, are found on the Dark Web.
  • And if all else fails and you become a victim, you will receive concierge-level help in resolving the issues and putting everything right again.

Cyber Monday is a great way to avoid the crowds, traffic, or hunting for a parking space while shopping. By following a few common sense rules, you can enjoy the deals without fear of a Grinch ruining your holiday.

 

¹Forbes, November 2017; Cyber Monday Hits New Record At $6.6 Billion

²PC Magazine, 2018, Over The Next 5 Years, 146 Billion Records Will Be Breached

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