By Savvy Cyber Kids November 28, 2018
It’s that time of year….time to start shopping for your holiday gift giving! Like many Americans, you do much of your shopping online. It’s convenient, easier to price compare and the selection is great, right? All true – but online shopping comes with risks. Here are some tips to help you ensure that your gift giving is marked by cheer – not tears. Read the following shopping scenarios as you think about the popular holiday song, The Twelve Days of Christmas…
On the first night of online shopping…. you are relaxing in a coffee shop, using the store’s free WiFi as you pick out the perfect present for your daughter-in-law. Little do you know that at the table next to you, a cybercriminal recording your every move as your credit card information is accessed via hacking that free WiFi. So, don’t forget to launch your VPN app before online shopping in a public space.
On the second night of online shopping… you get an email advertising the perfect gift for your nephew. You click on the link and order the gift, sharing your credit card information with a fraudulent vendor, and becoming a victim of identity theft. So, instead of clicking the link on the email to make the purchase, search for the gift on more reputable websites you know and trust.
On the third night of online shopping… you bought a beautiful throw for your daughter’s new home from Bloomindalles.net. You didn’t know but soon found out that misspelling familiar vendor names and webs addresses are common tricks by fake vendors. So, verify that the spelling of the website name is correct before making a purchase.
On the fourth night of online shopping… you bought some great historical books for your favorite cousin from a seemingly lovely online book dealer. The site wasn’t secure. So even though the book dealer was on the up and up, a hacker was able to steal your credit card information from the transaction. So, the holiday season is always a good time to check your credit card statement to determine if your credit card information has been stolen.
On the fifth night of online shopping… you misplaced your credit card and used your debit card to buy your grandchildren beautiful, handmade toys from Europe. Unfortunately, the vendor was not reputable and you gave the criminal access to all of your funds in your bank account. So, refrain from using your debit card from all online transactions and wait until you can access your credit cards.
On the sixth night of online shopping… you happened on the most incredible deal, the bargain of the century. After you bought it, you realized that the offer was really too good to be true and now you are out the money you spent, with no gift in hand. So, remember that buying from reputable sites prevents this from happening. If you are purchasing from a 3rd party seller on a reputable site, the reputable site will help you get your money back in the case of fraud.
On the seventh night of online shopping… you found the perfect gift for a dear friend and was so excited that you, without thinking, entered your birth date and social security number during the check-out process, giving a cybercriminal access to your identity for countless future crimes against you. So, if you have yet to place a security freeze on your credit at Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, now is the time.
On the eighth night of online holiday shopping… your credit card statement came in the mail. It was a fat envelope. You didn’t entirely want to face how much money you had spent holiday shopping and decided to review that expenses later. Later turned into several months into the New Year and that delay made it exponentially more difficult to dispute all the fraudulent charges you despairingly found on your statement. So, take a breath, grab a cup of eggnog and review your bills in a timely fashion.
Use these important cyber safety tips to be safe this holiday season!
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