Episode 5: Cybershopping Safety

According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center’s (IC3) 2020 report, non-payment or non-delivery scams cost people more than $265 million. Credit card fraud accounted for another $129 million in losses.

With more and more people shopping online, we need to pay attention to the details.  With good cyber habits we less likely to fall victim to these scams.

There are guidelines by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency or CISA about staying safe when online shopping. When I help teach my kids and friends how to shop online, I try and follow these guidelines.

  1. Do business with reputable vendors – Spend time making sure the websites you shop on are legitimate. If you Google an item, and it is advertised as on Amazon, make sure it is really the amazon website. Many criminals try to trick you with a website that looks very close.  Do not click on a link to take you to the site.  Go directly to the site and then look for the item you are interested in.
  2. As we have talked about before Make sure your information is being encrypted –look for the indications that your information will be encrypted include a Uniform Resource Locator (URL) that begins with “https:” instead of “http:” and a padlock icon. Recently there have been a spate of phishing calls and emails telling you that your account has been frozen due to questions over an order.   If you have a question or get this type of call or email call the company directly or go directly to their website. DO NOT CLICK ON ANY LINK IN THE EMAIL. After going directly to the website, log in and see if you have any notification in your profile.
  3. With the number of payment methods we have, credit card, debt card, PayPal, Bitcoin, you have many choices. Most credit cards come with buyers protections, and so using your credit card may be the safest way, as it adds this additional layer of protection. You can also use your credit card via the services of Apple Pay, PayPal or Google wallet, to reduce the number of potentially unknown websites that you put your credit card number into. While most banks provide protections with your debit cards, the money is going to be out of your account during the process of recovering the money.
  4. Be very careful about which shopping applications I use on y our phones and tablets.  If you use a mobile application, using the multifactor authentication or biometric option will help to ensure no one else makes purchases that you are responsible for.
  5. Open a different email to use exclusively for online shopping. That way your personal or business email is less vulnerable to attack, your inbox won’t be flooded with advertisements, and you will be able to more easily distinguish phishing emails in your personal email inbox.

With the increase of package theft, it is a good idea to let the recipient know that it is coming.

Cybershopping is now a part of our lives. Take the time to learn principles of online safety to protect yourself from digital exploitation.

Be safe out there!

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