7 Tips to Help You Shop Safely On Cyber Monday
According to the National Retail Federation, more than 165.3 million people are likely to shop Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday. Throughout the course of the holiday weekend, 39.6 million consumers are considering shopping on Thanksgiving Day, 114.6 million on Black Friday, 66.6 million on Small Business Saturday and 33.3 million on Sunday. The shopping weekend will wrap up on Cyber Monday, when 68.7 million are expected to take advantage of online bargains. As the popularity Cyber Monday grows, the deals get bigger and better, and the risk of shopping online increases as cybercriminals love Cyber Monday. To help shoppers stay safe and secure this season, here are seven smart ways to protect yourself from hackers.
Shop from a secure computer
A computer or phone that isn’t protected by antivirus software is more likely to be compromised by malware. Security flaws with software applications are discovered daily. Vendors are constantly updating their products to address newly discovered security vulnerabilities. Therefore, promptly install security-relevant software updates to continue to be protected.
Only shop on sites you know are safe
Shop only on trusted sites you know are safe rather than shopping with a search engine. One of the biggest mistakes online shoppers make is they search for the store with the lowest price. Comparison shopping is one thing, but an unbelievable deal might be a coupon to nowhere. Therefore, beware of misspellings or sites using a different top-level domain (a .net instead of a .com). Never buy anything from a website that does not have an SSL encryption installed. An encryption is a data-scrambling technology that keeps hackers from stealing your personal financial information. The website will start with an HTTPS:// if an SSL encryption is installed. There will also be an icon of a locked padlock at the top or bottom of your web browser.
Practice ‘good password hygiene’
The new mobile wallet payment system, Apple Pay uses your fingerprint to verify that you are who you say you are. But laptops, desktops and most mobile payment systems still rely on passwords to authenticate your identity, so experts urge consumers to practice good password hygiene. A strong password has a minimum of 12 characters, and should have a mix of different types of characters that include numbers, symbols, punctuation, upper and lower-case letters. Experts also advise consumers to change your password on a regular basis and use different passwords for each website or service to increase account security.
Check credit card and bank account transactions regularly
It is important to act quickly if you notice any suspicious activity or unauthorized transactions to your credit card or bank account. With MCCU’s online banking and mobile banking app, you can easily check your account balance and verify transactions 24/7. Better yet, opt into MCCU’s text banking, and receive recent transaction alerts and account balances automatically to your phone by text.
Control credit and debit card usage
CardValet is a mobile app that enables you to control credit and debit card usage and spending on the go by defining when, where and how your cards are used. This app is ideal for users who want to actively manage and protect their cards. The fraud protection benefits of CardValet enables cardholders to:
> Set-up real-time alerts keeping you informed when your cards are used.
> Monitor and control card transactions allowing your card to only work in specific locations or geographic areas.
> Safeguard your cards by turning them “off” if they are misplace, stolen or compromised. When your cards are “off,” no with-drawls or purchases will be approved.
Delete Cyber Monday emails
Cyber Monday is primetime for phishing, where hackers send you forged email to trick you into clicking a link to enter your information, or includes a zip file attachment that contains malware urging you to download. Therefore, use a hawk’s eye when viewing your email. Avoid opening any zip file attachments and never click a suspicious link. Always delete suspicious email immediately.
Ignore advertisement pop-ups
Many pop-ups could contain fake coupons, redirecting you to malicious sites, or expose you to cross-site scripting attacks. If a coupon pops-up out of nowhere with a too-good-to-be-true offer, it probably is. Therefore, the safest way to close the window, is to click Ctrl+Alt+Del. Or better yet, block unwated pop-ups in your browser settings.