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Stay Cyber Safe on Cyber Monday

Stay Cyber Safe on Cyber Monday


The biggest days of the year for online shopping are upon us! With an estimated 164 million people expected to hit the cyberworld this weekend. The National Retail Federation predicts $69 million dollars of generated sales on Cyber Monday alone. As stores post advertisements, cybersecurity experts issue warnings. Cybercriminals pounce on unsuspecting shoppers who often let their guards down because their focus is diverted to deals and the sheer mass of sales. Keep these 5 tips in mind to stay safe this online shopping season:

1. Use caution opening promotional emails: Your inbox is likely flooded with emails from your favorite (and not-so-favorite) stores promising once-in-a-lifetime sales. Cyber criminals know this, too, and use the large number of emails as cover for phishing attempts. Your safest option is to avoid clicking out from emails. Type the store location into your own browser. If promotional codes are lengthy, it’s OK to copy and paste those into the store site but use extra caution when clicking within original emails-especially if they look suspicious.

2. Private browsing: Avoid cookies that re-target shoppers for ads about items they’ve already bought by using private browsing. Not only does this strategy save you the annoyance and Big Brother feeling but it can also lead to better deals! Some websites upcharge users who have shopped on their website before. New or unidentified visitors are sometimes offered a lower price.

3. Use trusted shopping apps: Reconsider downloading holiday shopping apps from sources other than Google Play or the Apple App Store. Cybercriminals develop bogus apps that often promise savings never to be realized. Before shoppers realize it’s a hoax, they’ve often already entered personal information.

4. Search engine safety: Cybercriminals know that several searches will be popular this weekend: “Black Friday Deals”, “Cyber Monday Sales”, and “top deals”. Perpetrators use techniques like search engine infiltration and SEO poisoning to ensure that fraudulent links are bumped to the top. Legitimate information is replaced with the perpetrator’s physical location or phone number to divert customers. For a quick audit of your Google accounts, try Google’s free Security Checkup feature.

5. Add a layer of security to your payment: Consider a third-party payment system, like PayPal, Apple Pay, WePay, or Google Wallet. These options add a second layer of security between your personal information and the website hosting the transaction. Don’t forget to protect these options with a strong, unique password.

Holiday shopping has certainly changed from the era of pick pockets and purse thieves posing the most significant security threat. Online shopping offers security and this weekend, especially, the chance to compare deals and cash in savings. Do you have other strategies to cybersafe while saving this holiday shopping season? We’d love to hear them. Tweet your suggestions to @SECUREDATA and we’ll share them in a future post.

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