Today is Cyber Monday, and it feels like every website has incredible deals. Shopping online makes it easy to find the best sales and avoid going to busy stores! However, shopping online does come with some cyber risks. So it is essential to take steps to protect yourself anytime you enter personal information online.
1. Use Familiar Websites – Do you know the site you’re visiting? Use a trusted site. Knowing the site and the business makes you more likely to shop online safely. If you are not sure if a site is legitimate, maybe it’s a new small business, call them to verify.
2. Only Shop HTTPS – Never buy anything online using your credit card from a site that doesn’t have SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption installed. You’ll know if the site has SSL because the URL for the site will start with HTTPS – instead of just HTTP.
3. Don’t Overshare – Consider what information a company needs for you to make a purchase. Even if the purchase transaction is safe, well-established companies can still experience data breaches.
4. Check Statements Regularly – Don’t wait for your bill to come at the end of the month. Go online regularly, especially during the holiday season, to view electronic statements for your credit card, debit card, and checking accounts.
5. Only Shop Online with a Credit Card – If your debit card is compromised, cybercriminals will have direct access to your bank funds.
6. Use Caution When Shopping Online on Public Networks – Be extra careful when shopping on public Wi-Fi or hotspots, as they are not always secure and are easier to hack. In addition, if you are at your local coffee shop doing some holiday shopping, be aware when you have to enter the credit card number, expiration date and 3-digit code into a site because you’re giving an over-the-shoulder snooper plenty of time to copy the information.
When in doubt, do your research, call the business, look up their online reviews, or check their status on the Better Business Bureau.