Shopping Online? 5 Safety Tips You Need to Know
'Tis the season for cyber crime.
Given a record amount of spending on Cyber Monday, and a total of $105 billion in online spending expected through the end of the year, it's prime hunting season for cyber thieves looking to nab your personal and financial information.
But you can avoid becoming a victim by following some simple steps from state security officials.
1. Check the URL - Want to know if the online shopping site you're using is safe? Look for "HTTPS" at the start of the URL. The "s" stands for secure. You don't want to enter any personal information into a site that doesn't include this security feature.
2. No public Wi-Fi - You never want to conduct holiday shopping over a public Wi-Fi network. If it's not password protected, criminals have a better shot at nabbing confidential information and credit card numbers.
3. Use complex passwords - The best passwords include several characters, featuring a mix of numbers, symbols and letters - both uppercase and lowercase. You also want to make sure the answers to your password challenge questions, such as your home town or mother's maiden name, can't easily be found on social media. Click here for more password tips.
4. Beware of scams and "too good to be true" offers - Online scams run rampant this time of year. Don't click on links or ads that promise gifts and prizes; if you do, you'll likely be sent to a malicious website. Also, avoid unfamiliar sites that offer luxury items at unusually low prices.
5. Enable transaction notifications - By setting up alerts with your bank or credit card company, you can be notified by text or email every time your credit/debit card is used.
According to the state, suspicious and malicious cyber activity should be reported to your local police department immediately. In cases of identity theft, the three national credit bureaus should be notified as well.