These days, it's more convenient than ever to do all your holiday shopping online. What better day to start than on Cyber Monday, when sales are abundant and plentiful?
Before you start getting click-happy, though, beware of online traps that may be set up for you this Cyber Monday.
Here are seven simple cybersecurity tips to keep in mind:
- Avoid suspect emails. Beware online phishing scams, especially on Cyber Monday when you may be getting an influx of tempting emails. Delete any suspicious-looking email messages, especially if they're rife with misspellings or if they ask for more personal information.
- Make sure your Wi-Fi network is secure. When possible, try to do your Cyber Monday shopping over a secure Wi-Fi network -- at home, for example. While coffee shops, the airport, or other public Wi-Fi networks may be convenient, their networks are not necessarily secure and can be more susceptible to hacking.
- Look for "https" in the URL. When placing your order, double-check to make sure that your information is being entered on a secure site. A good way to check for this is to always look for the "s" after the "http" in your Web browser's address bar.
- Use a credit card that comes with built-in protection. If you can, always use a credit card when paying for purchases online, as opposed to using wire or bank transfers. Credit cards have built-in protection against identity theft, and you can always dispute any suspect charges.
- Don't click on pop-up ads. Pop-ups are not only annoying, but can lead to security threats as well. Try to "X" out of them whenever you get one and don't be tempted to click on it -- whatever the offer is, it's likely not legitimate.
- Run a virus scan. Make sure your computer is protected from online predators on Cyber Monday. Install up-to-date anti-virus software; also, make sure you have anti-spyware, anti-spam filters, and a firewall in place.
- Use strong passwords. When required to register for a website, make sure that you use a unique and strong password that others will be less likely to crack. Usually, this entails a combination of letters, numbers, and both uppercase and lowercase characters. This will help protect you from a variety of online and computer scams.
To learn more about protecting yourself while shopping online, check out FindLaw's comprehensive section on Online Scams.
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- How to Shop Safely on Cyber Monday (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)