As 2023 is coming to an end, we want to wish you a happy holiday season and share some insights and tips on how to shop online safely and smartly.
According to experts, Americans are expected to spend less this year due to the economic challenges caused by the pandemic. This means you need to be more careful with your money and avoid falling victim to online fraudsters and cyber criminals who try to ruin the festive spirit.
They must have forgotten about Santa’s naughty list! Here are our dos and don’ts for online shopping this holiday season:
Keeping an eye on your bank statements
Monitoring your financial records One of the best ways to prevent identity theft and fraud is to check your financial records regularly, such as bank statements and credit card transactions. You can access this data online anytime. Report any unusual activity (such as being charged for something you didn’t buy) and contact the institution right away.
Knowing how much items should cost
Being aware of the market prices When you shop online, you should have an idea of how much the items you want to buy normally cost. This will help you compare prices and spot any unrealistic deals. Sometimes, online stores may offer very low prices, but then you may end up with an item that is different from what you ordered, a fake, or nothing at all! A little bit of research can help you avoid these scams.
Making a cybersecurity list, checking it twice
Boost your cybersecurity this year by following our Core behaviors:
Use a different, complex password for each account that is at least 12 characters long – and let a password manager do the work for you! Enable multifactor authentication (MFA) for any account that supports it. Keep your software updated automatically, or install updates as soon as they are available. Learn how to spot phishing attempts and report phishing to your email provider or work.
Shopping on public Wi-Fi
Using public Wi-Fi and computers can be handy, but they are also risky. You should avoid online shopping or logging into sensitive accounts (like banking) when you are on public Wi-Fi. If you really need to buy some gifts online while you are away from your home or work network, use a VPN (virtual private network) or mobile hotspot.
Many “Grinch Bots” were active last year. These are software programs that quickly snatch up hot items, such as toys, sneakers, or other products, and then resell them for a huge profit to real customers. Of course, buying supposedly new items from a reseller exposes you to a higher chance of scams and fake goods. The best way to stop Grinch Bots is to ignore them and to only buy items from sellers you can trust.
Sharing more than you feel comfortable with
Sharing data online is necessary to buy something, but you should be careful of any seller who asks for more information than you are happy to give. Sometimes, you can skip some fields that are not required, and you should do that if you don’t want to share. If an online shop forces you to give more information than you like, look for another seller on the web – or in real life!
Keep the spirit of cybersecurity going all year long
These are some good advice for staying safe online when you shop for the holidays, but they are also smart habits to keep all year round.