Top 10 Cybersecurity Tips for Holiday Shopping

Consumers are longing for normalcy, waiting for something to celebrate, planning to spend money during the holidays—but differently from the way they have in the past. Because people today are avoiding stores and buying more online, e-commerce sales are rapidly on the rise, with no signs of reverting to in-store shopping anytime soon.

Thankfully, online shopping gets more intuitive and convenient by the day, allowing you to get everything with ease. However, while embarking on your online shopping journey, make sure you’re not leaving yourself at risk. It’s evident that businesses are after your money during the holidays, but hackers are on the lookout as well, now more than ever. You may not have to worry about being pickpocketed in the cyber world but you still need to be careful to keep data out of hackers’ hands.

Here are 10 online shopping tips that can help you protect your privacy against cybercriminals.

It is best to avoid public Wi-Fi altogether. However, if you need to utilize a public network, please ensure that you never establish an autoconnection and are always logged out of all personal accounts, such as your banking sites. Though it is perfectly acceptable to auto-connect to a trusted source such as your home but when out in public, make sure you disable the Wi-Fi option on your phone and use your data plan.

1. Do not use public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi networks may seem very convenient to use but are not secure at all especially the ones which are not password protected. Using public Wi-Fi for any shopping activity can potentially leak your usernames, passwords, texts, and emails.

2. Make sure the site is secure

Always ensure that the site you are entering your personal or financial information on is legitimate and can be trusted. Ensure that the website URL has “HTTPS” in the beginning. This indicates that the site is secure with encryption to protect your data.

3. Know what the product should cost

If the offer is too good to be true, then it may be a scam. Check the reviews online. This will give you a fair idea of what to expect when purchasing from them.

4. Rely on your Credit Card

Since debit cards are linked directly to your bank account, you’re at a much greater risk if a criminal were to obtain this information. Therefore, always remember that it is best to rely on your credit cards while shopping online. Credit cards offer much more protection and less liability if your information was to be compromised. Moreover, in case of a fraudulent transaction, credit card companies possess the ability to reverse the charge and hopefully, investigate the issue further.

5. Stay updated

One of the most important and easiest things you can do to prevent cybercriminals from accessing your information is updating your operating system and anti-virus software.

6. Outsmart the scammers

We often see an influx of emails with discounts and special offers. While many of these deals might be legitimate, email scammers take advantage of this surge to send out their own viruses and malware, hoping it might get lost in the mix. Beware when opening an email from someone you don’t know or a site you have not visited.

7. Make sure your passwords are complex

Make sure to change any outdated or simple passwords. The best practice is to create unique passwords when it comes to protecting your personal and financial information.

8. Understand your shopping applications

You should install only trusted applications from reliable cyber markets, such as the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Moreover, if you find any application to be suspicious, make sure to check out the reviews by legitimate user accounts, as this can help you identify if there is anything suspicious surrounding them.

9. Never save your information

Never save usernames, passwords, or credit card information in your browser, and make sure to clear your offline content, cookies, and history. In addition, when shopping online, consider checking out as a guest user rather than creating an account, as well as utilizing your private browsing feature.

10. Keep an eye on your credit

Keep an eye on your credit report to ensure that nothing out of the ordinary is taking place. The world of online shopping proves to be a lot of fun but never let this convenience override your security best practices.

Need immediate assistance with a cybersecurity breach or want to discuss how we can help with your cybersecurity needs? Contact us today.