When shopping online for the holidays, it’s important to remember that you are at high risk for cyber-attack. Most significantly, scammers can trick you into paying money for products that don’t actually exist, or obtain your personal information to attempt to steal money from you. Here are some tips on how to avoid scammers’ traps while shopping online.
Do your research: Read reviews, get information from friends, and inspect the site’s visual legitimacy before making any purchases on a website you haven’t used before.
Pay safely: Credit cards are the safest way to buy because you can prevent credit from being issued to pay for a purchase you didn’t actually make.
Value personal information: Only fill out required fields at checkout, and be wary of answering questions on a checkout page that don’t seem necessary for the purchase.
Be on guard in your email: Make sure to inspect links for deals and promotions in your email the same way you would when looking for a phishing scam. A deal that is too good to be true might just be an attempt to hack your computer, so think and observe before you click any links. When in doubt, throw it out – send suspicious emails to the trash bin.
Location protection: Disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on your smartphone when you’re not using them so that stores can’t track your location at all times.
Keep your passwords safe: With all the logging in you’ll be doing to conduct shopping online, you’ll need a safe place to store all of your passwords. Download LastPass to securely keep track of the passwords you use, and make sure to create strong, unpredictable passwords when making new accounts. Each account should have its own password.
Be sure to make keeping your information safe your first priority! Happy Shopping!