The Holiday Season is upon us and with COVID disrupting how normal life has been for many of us online shopping has become even more prevalent. Since just about all of us will be doing some form of shopping we compiled a list of tips to help keep you safe. These tips are not only useful for online shopping but are a great general rule of thumb for good cyber safety.
As you have likely seen us mention before, always use caution when clicking links from emails, especially from an unknown source. Even from known sources you should always hover over the link and make sure it goes to a legitimate website. A big threat during this time of year are emails that appear to be from legitimate companies that ask for personal information such as asking you to verify user names and passwords. Companies shouldn’t ask for that information directly in an email. If they try to redirect you to a website to input information pay attention to the website (and its URL) itself. Using fake websites can be a way to lure you into inputting credentials.
Another popular scam is to send emails that claim to be “Urgent”. If you see emails coming in that are asking you to quickly take action or are marked urgent that should be a red flag for you. With the holidays and COVID this year it has become a more popular scam to use, preying on panic and urgency. If you get an email that appears to be from someone you know, like a co-worker, that is asking for something urgent it is always better to ask them directly to verify that they sent the email.
Email and websites are not the only threats. Social media scams are on the rise as well. People are sending private messages to try and obtain your personal information. Like the fake emails mentioned above social media sites will never ask you for a user name and password through private messages.
Beyond looking out for scams you can take some additional measures to try to make things as safe as possible. For instance, if you are unsure of a product from an unknown website, try comparison shopping and see if it can be from somewhere you trust, or to make sure it is not “too good to be true”.
You should also never use a debit card online; you should always use a credit card when possible since it is not tired directly to your bank account and is easier to combat fraud charges. When making purchases online, you should make sure there is a “SSL” which is a secure connection usually indicated by a padlock in the browser bar next to the URL. Last but not least, in this particularly trying time for local businesses go shop somewhere locally, it will help support the community you live in and you don’t have to worry about a cyber scam.
When in doubt, if you ever have any questions about your cybersecurity or best practices contact us. We are here to help and support you with the knowledge and tools to keep you and your business safe.