Don’t let a cyber scam spoil your holiday cheer. Cyber criminals work daily to craft new ways to steal your personal data for financial gain. They are clever and tenacious and these year round Scrooges want nothing more for the holidays than to shout, “Bah humbug!” as they lure you in and rob you. Here are a few simple steps to protect your personal information and leave the “Bah humbug-ing” to holiday storytelling. In this first of a two part series, we discuss ways for you to ensure safer transactions during your online shopping experience.
Fraudsters use similar domain names to recreate sites that can be eerily similar to your bank or favorite retailer’s website. It’s the cybercriminals version of bait and switch and it’s known as Phishing scams. While they may be able to recreate eerily similar websites, rest assured that fraudsters cannot replicate the green bar in your web browser. Websites indicated with a green bar, security lock, and “S” following http in the domain name provide the strongest validation available to the online retailer. It’s called Extended Validation or EV Certification. Websites with EV Certification have undergone extensive vetting to determine site ownership and use encryption technology to protect the data that is transmitted assuring you that your online purchase is being transacted on the official website and not one that has been spoofed by a fraudster. See what EV Certification looks like in your browser.
Fraudsters want to know. They’ll swipe it right out of your hand or steal it from your purse, back pocket, or wherever they can. To you it’s invaluable. To them, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Not only does the device itself have value, but by using your personal information they can do their own holiday shopping or make bank transactions – at your expense! Secure your mobile devices with a passcode and fingerprint technology, if your device supports it. Use your phone’s tracking device or get a tracking app that wipes your device clean in case it’s ever lost or stolen.
With just a few swipes and a click your credit card and other personal information could fly right into the lap of a cybercriminal. Cybercriminals know how desperate Wi-Fi users are to avoid holiday jam ups and instead use mobile devices to tackle their to-do’s like online shopping or banking transactions. Cybercriminals use open Wi-Fi networks to spy on people in order to steal personal information. If you have to use Wi-Fi, make sure it comes from a trusted source.
The holiday bustle leaves everyone more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Our distraction and increased transactions give these online Scrooges more opportunities to put the humbug in our holiday season. Don’t let them. Be vigilant and stay tuned for Part 2 in this series to-stay-up to date on the best ways to safeguard your devices from malware.