Americans love to shop, especially around this time of the year when there are so many deals offered by countless companies. Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, hundreds of millions Americans were expected to shop over the weekend. According to the National Retail Federation, 154 million Americans were expected to shop, 3 million more than 2015. That doesn’t even include today, Cyber Monday, in which 122 million people are expected to go online to shop.
Retailer are gearing up for the busy day. Along with retailers, scammers and thieves are gearing up to steal your information. A study conducted by Javelin Strategy & Research showed that the number of identity fraud victims increased by 3% since 2015. That is a total of 13.1 million consumers in 2016. While the number of victims has increased, the amount stolen has decreased, thankfully. The number decreased by 6%, going from $16 billion in 2015 to $15 billion this year. It may have dropped but that is still way too much money that is being stolen.
These numbers show that it is important to be careful as you shop for the best online deals today. There are more cyber-thieves out there than people may be willing to believe and their after one thing – your money. In order to best protect yourself against any identify theft, it is important to take the following tips into consideration.
Don’t Use Debit Cards
According to IDT911, consumers should avoid using their debit cards. If a thief gets your debit card information, they may easily clean out your checking account in a matter of minutes and it can take weeks to have the money returned. In contrast, you have the opportunity to immediately contest bogus charges posted to your credit card and your liability may be capped, providing you with more protection.
Shop on Familiar and Secure Sites
Using familiar sites and secure connections is a good rule of thumb when shopping online. Many cyber-thieves will try to disguise their site to look like another. The best way in going around this is to shop on sites that you are very familiar with. If your on a site that is unfamiliar, look at the URL for an “S” in the beginnings as “https” means the site is safe and secure.
Use a Secure Connection
Many consumers will do their shopping on their phone as we’re becoming increasingly more mobile. As a consumer, you should make sure you don’t use any unknown or unfamiliar WiFi connections. Using an alternative connection instead, like cellular data, may be in your best interest. If you do have to use Public Wifi, using a VPN (virtual private network) would be best.
Don’t Click on Ads
This may be a harder tip to follow as the internet is filled with advertisements, and they can be tempting to click on when seeing the flashy ad with such a great deal. Avoid clicking on or hovering over the ads. Cyber-thieves will use these ads to their advantage by embedding links into them with malware. This could allow the cyber-thief to steal your information much easier.
Up-to-Date Virus Protection
Without the latest version of security protection, thieves have a much higher chance of being able to steal your information. According to CreditCards.com, you’re inviting identity thieves to steal your financial information without having comprehensive security protection online.
If you’re doing shopping online today, be safe and use these tips! No one deserves to have their identity or their money stolen. More tips for Cyber Monday shopping are available at the links below. Happy shopping!