Shopping online can most certainly make holiday gifting quicker, easier –and on Black Friday – certainly cheaper. But it also makes it easier for cyber criminals to grab your credit card info, financial data, Social Security number, and other sensitive information.
That’s why we encourage our community of homeowners to be smart and proactive this holiday season — so no one gets caught up in any kind of “phishing” net.
Here’s a few important information to keep your online Black Friday shopping safe:
- Scammers are savvy. They are known to change the name of a familiar retailer by one or two letters to lure you to their site. Verify before you shop.
- Keep security software and firewalls updated and active.
- Beware of making purchases after clicking on a pop-up ad. Look at the URL bar. An “s” designation in any “https” indicates a secure site. It should also show a lock icon in the browser bar.
- Don’t do online shopping in cafes and public areas. Public space Wi-Fi hotspots are generally unprotected – allowing nearby thieves to snoop, copy and save your transaction information as they sit nearby.
- Avoid phishing emails that suggest your password is expiring or an account update is needed. The link you click may take you to a fake website that will steal usernames and passwords or can track your keystrokes.
Caution is Advised
Be cautious when updating your security codes for laptop, phone and credit cards – especially this time of year
- Set up passwords that are strong, long and unique, ideally a different password for each account.
- Use multi-factor authentication, often sent as a text to a mobile phone in addition to usernames and passwords.
- When it’s time to get a new computer, phone or tablet, be careful of how you dispose of your old one. Make sure to wipe the hard drive of all information before trashing.
Remember, it only takes a few extra steps to protect your information from predators online, but can often take a full year or more to repair and re-establish credit. Stay safe and have fun this holiday season!