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Online shopping cybersecurity tips

The season of giving is upon us, but that doesn’t mean you should give away personal information to cyber criminals. While you are scoring the best deals at your favorite online retailers, cyber criminals are trying to score your information. Online shopping may be convenient, but it has the possibility to pose a huge threat to your personal information.

Before you click “add to cart”, make sure you “check out” these tips on how to stay safe when shopping online!

  1. Monitor your accounts: Keep a close eye on your credit card and bank account statements for suspicious charges. See a charge you do not recognize? Report it immediately!
  2. Pay with a credit card as opposed to a debit card: Your credit card offers greater protection if you need to dispute fraudulent charges. Sign up for alerts and notifications for all your charges.
  3. Use a mobile security app: These are apps that scan your device for rogue applications, spyware, unsecured Wi-Fi connections, and fake networks.
  4. Generate a “one-time use” credit card number that doesn’t expose your real number: Many banks offer this option to their customers!
  5. Avoid buying from merchants whose websites are not secure: A hacker may also set up a website designed to look like a legitimate seller of some novelty item like decorative gift baskets or handkerchiefs. Before purchasing from these websites, Google their legitimacy and check the Better Business Bureau for any scam reports.
  6. Phishing and scams: Scammers try to bait you with fake shipping notification emails, fake receipts, and fake compromised account alerts. Make sure to check the legitimacy of the information you receive!
  7. Take precautions when making holiday purchases with a smartphone: Before you think of making a purchase through an ad on Instagram or Facebook or even downloading a coupon, perform an internet search about the ad you received for words like “complaint” or “reviews,” and you may uncover a scam related to the promotional offer.
  8. Use strong and unique passwords: Combine numbers and special characters. Make it 12–16 characters. Don’t reuse the same password on different accounts. You can generate random passwords and keep them organized with a password management app to make using different passwords easier.  U$e_p@Ssw0rd_Phr@s3s! for master passwords that you need to remember.

Happy holidays, Redbirds!

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