While shoppers scour the Internet for the best deals once holiday shopping season kicks off, Black Friday and Cyber Monday mean more cyber threats. As online activity ramps up, the environment is prime for phishing attacks, email scams, malicious websites and more. Even cautious consumers must be aware of credit card fraud and identity theft.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency just released its Holiday Shopping Guide for 2023 with helpful tips for holiday online safety. Here are their top three tips:
- Check your devices. Before completing any online transactions, make sure the mobile device your shopping from is up-to-date. Have you updated your banking and credit card passwords? And are you using two-factor authentication when available?
- Only shop trusted sources. How are you finding holiday shopping deals? Are you clicking on links in emails or going directly to the vendor’s website? You wouldn’t go into a store with boarded up windows and no signage. The same rules apply to online shopping. If a link or site looks suspicious, something is probably not right. The Better Business Bureau advises looking for a URL addresses that starts with “HTTPS://” and includes a lock icon on the purchase or shopping cart page
- Use safe methods for purchases. Use a credit card as opposed to a debit card whenever possible. Scan your credit card and bank statements for any fraudulent charges and immediately notify your bank or financial institution and local law enforcement if you see fraudulent charges.
According to Gallup, 93% of holiday shoppers will buy at least some gifts online, including about half (47%) who will buy all or most of their gifts online. (Source:Shopify-Gallup Holiday Shopper Pulse, conducted Sept. 1-14) And scams make up 75% of cyber threats, according to new data from Norton. Scams such as e-shop scams, where fake online stores are created to lure shoppers with popular products offered at significant savings, are one of the three most popular scams.
Holiday shoppers are barraged with enticing emails from retailers offering sales and promotions. However, cybercriminals often send phishing emails that impersonate these retailers, luring consumers with convincingly legitimate, but malicious, links or requests for sharing personal and financial information. And most people are multi-tasking and busy during the holidays making them more susceptible to online scams.
The holidays are a fun and busy time. Consumers should still remain focused on safe shopping practices in order to avoid becoming a victim of cybercrime.
By utilizing tools like MyPrivacy360, consumers can rest assured that they have an additional layer of protection ensuring their personally identifiable information (PII) is secure and safeguarded from cybercriminals.