In a recent survey by Bankrate.com, 71% of respondents said they plan to make most of their holiday purchases online, 20 percent more than previous years. However, while trying to stay safe and avoid crowded malls, hackers are preparing to pounce on online shoppers. This means you must be mindful of your online behavior. Eighty percent of those surveyed by Bankrate.com say that they reuse online passwords. Additionally, 45% of respondents saved passwords on a computer or phone, while 39% saved payment information on their online device.
Ransomware is one of the most lucrative ventures for cybercriminals; therefore, experts expect it to be the preferred method of attack during the holiday shopping season. Top ransomware threats to look out for are Ryuk ransomware, REvil ransomware, Sodinokibi Ransomware, NetWalker ransomware and DoppelPaymer Ransomware, among others.
So How Can You Shop Safely?
Pay attention to red flags when shopping online and give out as little information as possible. When looking at the beginning of a website address, you want to see “https” because that means the site is encrypted and any information entered will be secure. If there is no “s” on the end of “http,” it’s not secure. You also have to remember to be wary of online stores that may try to ask for birth dates or Social Security numbers to complete a purchase. Unless it is part of an online credit check, there is no reason for an online retailer to ask for this information. Also, make sure to delete suspicious holiday offer emails immediately as hackers like to use malicious links in fake promotional email blasts to send users to pages that ask for sensitive personal information used for identity theft and fraud.
Another underrated tactic that the safe online shopper needs to utilize is always remembering which website they purchase gifts from. Tracking online purchases via an online banking app and comparing it to your receipts is the easiest way to determine whether you are a victim of fraud in real-time.
And always use a credit card instead of a debit card because of the differences in how fraud is handled. With debit cards, your bank balance is immediately affected, but with buying with a credit card, it’s the creditor’s money that is stolen, and there are more protections provided for you.