Ho, Ho, NO! Don’t let online deals become cyber steals!

Dec 16, 2016

My online shopping cart is making such a clatter; my heart is going pitter-patter!

Oh, great! Is this really the expected delivery date?! I waited too late, expedited shipping is my unfortunate fate.

While my pre-planning was sorely lacking, at least I can rely on postal tracking!

I quickly sign in to my email to ensure everything is going well…BUT WAIT?!? Does this UPS notice say I have a package coming from Dell?!

This is not at all what I wished! I clicked on the notice and I think I have been phished!!!

While this time of year brings out kindness and joy, make sure that you don’t fall for a criminal’s latest ploy!

While shopping:

  • No matter how good an offer may seem, avoid clicking on links within an email. If you get an email from a known source, such as a favorite department store, type their web address directly into your browser or do a search instead of clicking on the link provided. Cyber-attackers can easily spoof company logos and contact information.
  • Be wary of online stores offering a dramatically cheaper price than anyone else. This could be a sign of a fraudulent website. Also, read customer feedback and reviews about the vendor and merchandise before you purchase. 
  • Ensure the electronic device you are using to access the internet is being managed properly (for example, up-to-date with all the latest security patches).  

When making a purchase:

  • Create a unique password for each online account you access. This will reduce the risk of further exploitation if your credentials are stolen. 
  • Limit your purchases to well-known and trusted websites. Before you initiate a transaction, look for a secure SSL encryption (such as the padlock symbol).
  • Opt out of automatically saving your payment information; it is safer to re-enter the details each time. Consider services like PayPal to limit the amount you expose your credit card information.
  • Beware of unsecure Wi-Fi connections. Never access, transmit, or receive sensitive information over an unsecure Wi-Fi network.

Waiting for delivery:

  • Need to review your purchase or track its shipping? Type the company’s web address directly into your browser or do a browser search instead of clicking on the link provided in the confirmation email. Remember, cyber-attackers frequently spoof company logos and contact information. In fact, UPS, FedEx, and USPS are constant targets for fake package tracking emails
  • Do not open attachments from an unverified source. Attachments can contain viruses that allow cyber-attackers to gain control of your computer system. 

After the holiday shopping rush:

  • Check your bank and credit card statements regularly to identify any suspicious activity. Report unauthorized charges immediately.
  • Be cautious with emails claiming your online payment account (such as PayPal, bank account, or credit card) information needs updated. Email messages demanding immediate attention and asking for personal information are generally phishing attempts. Before you act, consider the information that is being requested! If you are feeling unsure, simply contact the company directly. Do not rely on the contact information provided in the email though; do a browser search for the business and use the contact information on their website.