Stay Safe From Online Threats When Holiday Shopping
A few easy steps can protect you from hackers and malware
It's the season for eggnog lattes, office parties, and lots of online shopping. But it’s also the most wonderful time of the year for hackers.
Like the Grinch peering down the mountain at Whoville, cybercriminals are watching you. They're seeking easy targets for phishing, ransomware, credit card fraud, identity theft, and other nefarious schemes.
So before you start typing in your credit card number to get that too good to be true deal you saw in a Facebook ad, take a minute to make sure that your devices are locked down.
And be careful where you click and who you give your information to. What looks like a gift from Santa could actually be a big pile of coal.
Here are a few ways to stay safe from online threats as you do your holiday shopping.
Better Watch Out
Update everything. One of the easiest and best things consumers can do to boost their digital security this holiday season is to make sure that all of their devices are up to date.
When software providers find out about bugs, they send out patches to fix them. But hackers are constantly on the lookout for old, unpatched systems. So make sure the operating systems on your computers and mobile devices have all of those patches. The same goes for all the apps on them that you use to shop.
Checking It Twice (and Maybe More)
Sometimes consumers can do everything right and still get their information stolen. So it’s important to keep a close eye on your online accounts so you can spot fraud right away.
Keep it simple. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use the same credit card and email account for all of your holiday shopping. In addition to making it easier to spot phishing emails, you get the added benefit of keeping a closer watch on how much you’re spending.
Stick with a credit card. While banks and credit unions will eventually make you whole if someone empties your checking account, seeing your money disappear can be a lot more stressful than an inflated credit card bill.
One more tip: Many banks will let you set text or email alerts for transactions that exceed a certain amount of money. That lets you know right away whether a cybercriminal has gone on a shopping spree with your account.