The holidays are a time when it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of gift giving and online shopping; but it’s also the time when we are most vulnerable to the cybersecurity threats like identity theft, credit card fraud and phishing scams.
To help you stay safe online as we shift towards more online holiday shopping, here are some helpful cybersecurity tips from our team of cybersecurity experts at MicroAge in Montreal.
Avoid Scams and Identity Theft
The increased web traffic to commercial sites and online vendors during the holidays means that this time of year is also peak season for internet scammers. The first thing you can do to protect your personal information is to be aware of two increasingly widespread types of internet security issues, phishing and “smishing”, and how to identify them.
- Phishing occurs when a third party tries to solicit private information from you by mimicking, copying or impersonating a brand or organization for financial gain. (Ex: Amazon, eBay, PayPal etc.)
- “Smishing” is a subset of phishing, one that focuses on using fake SMS messages to get you to reveal personal or financial information.
Due to the pandemic, online shopping this holiday season figures to be more popular than ever; so here are some cybersecurity tips and tricks that will help make sure that your information stays safe while you enjoy quality time with your friends, family and loved ones.
Stick to Your Device
When shopping online, only make purchases from your device or computer. Avoid entering personal information like your home address or credit card details if you use a public computer.
Use Private Browsing
If you have no choice but to use a public computer, remember to use the private browsing feature and clear your credentials from any app or platform you logged in to.
Use a VPN
Particularly important when your device is connected to public wifi, VPN connections are encrypted and will help protect your data.
Update, Update, Update
Keeping your devices and home computer up to date with the latest security patches for your operating system and web browser.
Beware of suspicious emails. Do not click on any links in messages from unknown senders. If someone you know unexpectedly sends you something with a link, do not open it. Reach out to the sender (on another platform, or in a new message, not by replying to their original email) for more information. Make sure to check the email address of the suspicious email. Most of the time fake emails will have an email address that is totally unrelated to the brand being impersonated.
Trust but Verify
The overwhelming majority of online shopping experiences are completely safe, but you should make a habit of regularly checking your credit and debit card statements and verifying all transactions anyway. By quickly identifying fraudulent activity, you can alert your bank and minimize the damage, if your information is ever compromised.
Stay Safe This Holiday Season
Avoiding scams when you shop online comes down to remembering this old adage: If it looks too good to be true then it probably is! For more information about how you can protect your information when you go online or to learn about our full-suite of IT services and solutions, contact MicroAge for top of the line cyber security solutions in Montreal.