As you rush to finish all your online holiday shopping, you could become a victim of cyber crime
In fact, one out of four holiday shoppers has been a victim of an online hack in the past 12 months, according to a recent CNET survey.
Here are five ways to protect yourself while shopping online so you can keep your bank accounts and credit cards safe.
- Update your device’s mobile operating system – Be sure you’re running the latest version of the operating system on your phone, tablet and computer because it’s more likely that the older versions are not as secure. You should also confirm that your anti-virus/anti-spyware software is running and being updated automatically.
- Don’t use public Wi-Fi – That’s because when you’re using a mobile device on an unprotected network, an attacker can intercept the Internet communications between you and a designated website – known as a man-in-the-middle attack – and communicate with that website pretending to be you. The attacker can then read, insert, and modify the data in the intercepted communication. The attacker could also redirect your device to visit a website that your device thinks is legitimate but is really fake and designed to get you to enter your credentials.
- Look for “https” in a website’s URL address – Look for the ‘s’ after the “http” in the address bar in your mobile browser as well as your desktop browser. The https indicates that a website is secure. A website may display a padlock icon to the left of the web address that also indicates the site is secure.
- Be careful with SMS text messaging – There are a lot of spam messages that are being sent out such as offering you a cruise to the Bahamas or to the Caribbean or $100 gift cards to Walmart or Best Buy. If you click on those links, you could be downloading malware onto your phone that will enable hackers to access your personal banking information or credit card numbers.
- Use a payment method that is secure – One way to protect your payment information is to only use secure payment methods, such as PayPal or a credit card. This is especially true if you plan on saving your payment information to the website for convenience, such as Amazon 1-Click. Although having your credit card maxed out is horrible, it is less stressful than if your entire checking account is drained. Some fraudulent claims could take weeks to resolve, and during that time you will still have bills to pay and groceries to buy.
Following these tips will help you protect yourself as you shop online this holiday season.