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Online Shopping Safety Tips: How to Protect Yourself From Cybercrime

By December 17, 2021March 4th, 2022No Comments
Online Shopping Safety Tips: How to Protect Yourself From Cybercrime

Online shopping makes getting the perfect gift a whole lot easier. It’s a shopping trend we’ve seen steadily increase over the years, and especially during the pandemic. But as we continue to shift more and more toward online shopping, the amount of fraud and/or identity theft incidences is increasing. In 2020, more than 155.8 million people were affected by data breaches.

The next time you buy online, follow these tips to protect yourself from falling victim to fraud or theft.

1. Shop from secure websites only.

When you visit a website, the URL should begin with “https” instead of “http.” A secure website is encrypted, allowing you to complete a purchase and enter your personal and credit card information without being hacked.

2. Use a reputable, full-service internet security provider.

Choose one that provides a comprehensive computer security package (a “security suite”) that includes a firewall, antivirus, anti-spyware and anti-spam protection.

3. Keep your software up to date.

Never put off installing the latest updates on your PC, and electronic devices.

4. Practice effective password security.

Passwords continue to be one of the most vulnerable cyber defenses.

Take these precautions:

  • Passwords should be 12 or more characters long and contain a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
  • Avoid using easily guessable phrases like “123456”, “abc123” or “Welcome.”
  • Don’t use passwords containing personal info that can be publicly available (family names and birth dates, pet names, favorite sports team, hobby, etc.)
  • Don’t leave passwords out in the open and never share them with anyone.
  • Change your passwords regularly and don’t reuse them.
  • Create a unique separate password for each account.
  • Consider a password manager (to store your passwords in one location with one master password.)

5. Back up your data regularly.

Regular data backups are vital in helping minimize the impact if your data is lost, stolen, corrupted, or compromised in any other way. Use a cloud or an internet security provider that offers data backup services.

6. Don’t fall victim to phishing.

Phishing attacks are the practice of sending fraudulent communications that appear to come from a legitimate source. Usually done through an email, phishing can also be in the form of a text or a letter that will appear legitimate.

The attacker attempts to obtain your sensitive information (like login ID and password or credit card and bank account information) by asking you to verify or update your information. Malicious software (Malware) like viruses and ransomware can also be downloaded onto your computer after opening an email, clicking on a link, or opening an attachment.

Take these precautions:

  • Never provide personal information in an email, text, or to someone who called you.
  • Never open attachments or click on links from someone you don’t know.
  • Make sure that HTTPS appears in the URL (it’s a secure version of HTTP.)
  • Flag and report suspicious emails.
  • Don’t store personal information (passwords, account numbers, etc.) on your mobile devices.

7. Exercise caution when using public Wi-Fi.

A mobile device is only as secure as the network through which it transmits data. The fact is that public Wi-Fi networks are often not as secure as we think.

Take these precautions:

  • Never use public Wi-Fi to shop online, log in to bank accounts, or other sites.
  • Only visit websites with HTTPS encryption (vs HTTP) when on public Wi-Fi.
  • Turn off the automatic Wi-Fi connectivity feature on your phone, so it won’t automatically seek out hotspots.

8. Turn your computer off.

Turning your computer off effectively severs an attacker’s connection.

9. Protect yourself with personal cybercrime insurance.

Increasingly, more insurance companies are offering personal cybercrime insurance. Events typically covered include cyber attacks, cyber extortion, and data restoration. Some homeowners insurance plans may provide a level of cybercrime coverage. Talk to Arbor Insurance Group about protecting yourself with a policy based on your needs!

Arbor Insurance Group provides cyber insurance, homeowners insurance, auto insurance, and other personal and business insurance products throughout the Lehigh Valley, including Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton, Emmaus, Macungie, and surrounding areas.

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