Thousands of holiday shoppers are turning to their computers to find the best deals and avoid checkout lines. But, it doesn’t protect them from crime. How can you check your list twice so you’re not a victim of cybercrime?
Online shoppers are more likely to take shortcuts, which makes them more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Cybercriminals try to take advantage through social engineering — deceiving you into providing personal information to seemingly trusted agents who turn out to be malicious actors.
You may recognize social engineering as emails disguised as e-cards and package delivery failures, online offers that sound too good to be true, and phony websites posing as legitimate online businesses and services.
Don’t get scammed by social engineering this holiday season. Follow these tips to protect yourself and make secure online purchases.
- Use caution when opening email attachments. Typically, retailers don’t send email attachments. If you have any doubt, contact the retailer directly and confirm the email was sent from them.
- Look for the lock. Don’t make an online purchase unless you see a closed padlock on the browser bar or “https” at the beginning of the web address. This shows the information you enter is securely encrypted between your device and the retailer’s website.
- Keep your internet browser updated. Using the most current browser provides the most up-to-date security protection.
- Use anti-virus software. This will help you fight off computer viruses that can steal or modify the data on your computer and leave you vulnerable to cybercriminals.
If you think you’re a victim of social engineering and your bank account was compromised, contact your financial institution immediately. They may advise you to watch for additional unexplainable charges or close the compromised account.
It’s also a good idea to change any passwords you may have revealed. If you used the same password for multiple websites, change it for each account, and do not use that password in the future.