11/19/2017: Cyber Thieves Love the Holidays – Tips to Help Protect Yourself Online >>Read More

Cyber Thieves Love the Holidays – Tips to Help Protect Yourself Online.  Online shopping continues to grow in popularity; unfortunately, this makes the holiday season a great time for cyber thieves to take advantage of unknowing shoppers.  Keep these tips in mind to help protect yourself while shopping online:

  • Secure your computer and mobile devices.  Password protect your computer and mobile devices.  Set a timeout that locks your devices after a period of inactivity and require a password to resume activity.  Keep the operating system and software updated on all of your computers and mobile devices. 
  • Shop with merchants you know.  Only use online websites and mobile apps of merchants you know and trust. Directly type a known, trusted URL into the address bar instead of clicking on a link.  Look for “https” before logging in or entering any payment information online.  The “s” in “https” stands for “secure” and indicates that communication with the website is encrypted. 
  • Do not respond to “pop-ups”.  If a window pops up offering you cash, bargains or gift cards in exchange for answering questions or a survey, close it and don’t respond as these could contain viruses. 
  • Don’t use public computers or public Wi-Fi for online shopping.  Treat all public computers and Wi-Fi hotspots as compromised, even if they appear to be safe.
  • Use complex passwords.  Use strong passwords that are a minimum of eight characters long, with numbers, special characters, and upper and lower case letters.  Adhere to the adage “a unique password for every unique site.”
  • Don’t auto-save your personal information or passwords.  When online shopping, you may be given the option to save your information for future use.  Consider if the inconvenience of having to reenter your information is really worth the risk of your stored information possibly being compromised.
  • Pay by credit card, not debit card. Credit cards offer protections that may reduce your liability if your information is used improperly.   
  • Check your bank and credit card statements regularly.  Your statements are often the first indicators of fraud.  If you see something that doesn’t look right, report it immediately.