Stays Safe While Shopping Online This Holiday Season
by Shana Moore
Most people are already on their guard during the holiday season. Walking through parking lots can be sketchy, falling for fake charities is always a worry, and mobs in stores are ridiculous at this time of year. But one thing many shoppers forget is that they should also be on guard at home during the holiday season. Shopping on the computer poses a bigger threat than most people realize.
Record Number of Online Shoppers Vulnerable to Hackers
With billions of dollars already being spent online for Christmas shopping, some people will inevitably fall prey to cyber criminals this year. Lurkers will use this month to find unsuspecting shoppers that they can entice into handing over valuable information about their accounts, obtaining personal identification information and financial information, leaving shoppers with a lot less in their bank accounts than they might expect.
This year it is expected that a record number of shoppers will do their Christmas shopping online. This is when criminals come out of the works to grab information and steal personal data. You may be asking how they can steal your information if the sites are secure. Well, the site itself may be secure but have you checked your web browser? Over 50% of computer users are using an outdated browser, which presents a lot of issues when you’re entering credit card information to buy that Christmas gift you’ve been eyeing.
Risk Factors for Online Shoppers
How many times have you seen your virus protector pop up and you close it because you just don’t have time to wait for it to scan? When you forego this simple task, you are putting your computer and any information stored on it at risk. There are some browsers that are susceptible to more risks, but running your virus scan and installing security updates can make a major difference.
Even legitimate sites that pose no threat could have a page among the site that contains several booby traps waiting for someone to click on it. Most people think they are only targets if they are buying something. This is no longer the case. Well known social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are struggling to keep crooks at bay. You may want to think again before clicking on that link your friend just posted on Facebook. Ask them about it before randomly clicking. Many times intruders will get into their PC and post links in order for friends to click on them unsuspectingly. When this happens you hand over your email and many other pieces of information.
Protect Yourself from Online Shopping Scams
So now that you are aware of the issues that are all around us in the online world, what can you do to protect yourself?
- Change your password periodically
- Check to make sure the site is secure
- Run your virus scan
- Install any updates as necessary
- Use a credit card instead of a debit card
Shopping online is a lot like shopping in public. Keep your eyes peeled and if something looks sketchy, it is best to avoid it. The holidays can be stressful enough, so be careful whether you are at home shopping or out at the malls and make this a great holiday to remember.