Black Friday is now behind us, but Cyber Monday is upon us. With some amazing online deals, it’s hard to skip out on the trend. But, while you type in those credit card numbers online, do you ever fear hacking or identity theft? Check out this November 30th article from Forbes to help keep your cybersecurity in check!
“Black Friday was a record-setting day for retailers, who raked in more than $7.2 billion over the course of the massive sales day. Cyber Monday is likely to follow suit, with a considerable amount of online-only offers that will undoubtedly attract people to pick up some gifts for themselves or their loved ones. But if you’re shopping this holiday season, you’ll want to take extra precautions. With so much money changing hands, malicious actors like hackers are sure to want to get in on the action. You don’t have to be a sitting duck for these attackers. Here are some tips to stay safe while shopping on Cyber Monday from experts in the field.
Tom Arnold, the co-founder of Payment Software Company — a major security consultancy firm that helps companies, financial institutions and credit card companies protect their systems — advises first and foremost to never “loan your payment card or online shopping account number to anyone.” That includes family members. The more people who have access to your information, the more likely that it may be abused. Arnold recommends using a credit card rather than a debit card when shopping online, as “fraudulent activity on credit cards are easier to dispute since revolving credit is used to underwrite a transaction, whereas a debit card is backed by your bank account.”
Leigh-Anne Galloway, the cybersecurity resilience lead at Positive Technologies, suggests that you may want to use a virtual credit card rather than your standard card. “They have a shorter lifetime than regular credit cards, and you can impose transaction limits,” she explains. Galloway also suggests signing up for text notifications so you can receive confirmation of any transactions that may take place from your account.
One simple way to make sure that you are safe and secure when shopping online is to stick with sites that are well-known and reputable, according to Arnold. “If something seems strange, like a pop-up or error warning, don’t enter your payment data. Go somewhere else instead,” he explained. He also suggested that you should be wary of any offers that seem too good to be true or “involve an intermediary,” as they could be a fraud attempt. Unsolicited emails from unfamiliar accounts can also be sources of scams. There’s also typically no reason that you would need to download software or applications in order to enjoy any savings, so keep an eye out for any supposed offer that requires you to download something.
Of course, precautions can only take you so far. Galloway warns that there is no such thing as surefire security when it comes to your online activity. “Remember there are no guarantees to security when shopping online,” she says. “Even visual indications, such as padlock icons are no guarantee of the security for your personal and payment data.”