Between all the shopping you’ll likely do on Black Friday and Cyber Monday and the shopping you’ll do throughout the holiday season, you’re going to have a lot of transactions. With all the data breaches we’ve seen this year, it’s more important than ever to take steps to protect yourself.
Here are a few tips to stay safe on Cyber Monday and anytime you shop online.
- Shop from a secure computer. Make sure you have a reputable security software installed. Don’t rely on a free security option to protect you.
- Use a secure connection online. When shopping from your computer and a web browser, look for URLs that begin with HTTPS (instead of HTTP). This means they have an extra layer of security that will help protect you.
- Shop from trusted vendors and go directly to their URL. Avoid clicking on ads because they can easily be faked and hide malicious viruses or other things designed to steal your information.
- Review your bank account and credit card statements regularly. Make sure you know your login information for your accounts online so you can check at any point. Immediately contact your bank or credit card if you see something suspicious.
- Better yet, set up an alert through your bank or credit card to notify you any time a purchase over a specific dollar amount is made. This way you’ll get a text or email for all your purchases and can immediately see if something fraudulent comes through.
- Ideally, only use a credit card that’s not attached to your bank account. This way you don’t have to worry about all of the money in your bank account being wiped out.
- Create unique login and password information at every store you purchase from. If a hacker gets your information, they’ll try to use it in multiple places. If you use the same login information everywhere, you’ve just given a thief access to all of your account information.
- If you shop from your smartphone or tablet, use a trusted vendor’s mobile app instead of a web browser. It’s harder to detect if the browser is secure.
- Only download mobile apps from reputable stores like iTunes for Apple and Google Play for Android. Beware of any store’s app that isn’t available in these places.
- Don’t click on links you don’t recognize whether in an online ad or in an email you’re sent. Thieves use this as a way to get your personal information.
The holiday season is supposed to be a time of joy and celebration, but thieves use it as a time to steal and take. Don’t make their job easy. Protect yourself when you’re online this holiday season.