Last winter, Pew Research reported that eight in 10 people now shop online, up from just 22 percent in 2000. My, how times have changed!
Whether the draw of online shopping is for cost or convenience, chances are you will likely buy something online throughout the year. And during the peak of holiday shopping, it likely seems as if everyone has a package on their doorstep.
We’ve covered the basics of online shopping safety before, but there are always tips to add, given advanced technology and more sophisticated cybercriminals.
Ask yourself the following questions …
Is it safer to make purchases via an online app or on your PC?
If you are purchasing from a major retailer, like Walmart or Amazon, most of these players have invested in their own apps. Apps are more secure online shopping channels than websites since hackers need to create specific hacks for specific apps.
Do you keep too much personal info on your smartphone?
Our smartphones are often goldmines of information. We use them less to call and text, and more to surf the web and engage on apps. While it is OK to shop with your smartphone, be wary of fake online shopping sites that can infect your device with malware. If this happens, cybercriminals can have access to your phone numbers, photos, notes and even app contents. Keep as little information as possible available on your phone, and instead rely on offline or cloud storage solutions.
Are you quick to click on emails?
Phishing emails were once easy to spot. Not anymore. Cybercriminals have perfected the art of phishing emails today. They look so professional and appear to come from reputable agencies, stores and sites. A phishing email with a fake offer to a desirable product is a hard thing to resist for many shoppers, so they make an impulsive decision and click on the “Order product” or “Buy now” and that’s when the malware attack starts. Make sure to educate your teens about these “too good to be true offers.” They are new to the phishing game and need to start learning how to protect their devices too.
Are you using the same password on all shopping sites?
Clearly, we have too many passwords to remember. From work devices to social media apps to iTunes, who can remember multiple usernames and passwords? The easy thing to do is to use the same password for all your shopping sites, but if you get hacked, you will suffer exponentially. To protect yourself, rely on a password manager like Dashlane or LastPass. They will store your passwords and help you come up with more secure passwords to protect your online identity and transactions.
Be sure to review our online shopping basics, and consider these latest tips to protect yourself and family members this holiday season and throughout the year.
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