Nov 05, 2018
For those who prefer shopping from the comfort of their own, warm homes, Cyber Monday is a welcomed retreat from the holiday hustle and bustle! Safety concerns are limited to the digital types and the cold temperatures can’t reach you and your coffee mug. But, here’s what you should know about any online shopping experience, and especially during Cyber Monday shopping (scheduled for November 26th this year but appearing at different times for different retailers).
- Use only one credit card for two reasons:
- 1) Better chance of avoiding trouble in the event of a credit card breach, and,
- 2) Only one card to cancel if your wallet is lost or stolen.
- Watch all of your accounts closely.
- Shop online exclusively using sites with secure connections (https://) and encryption certificate (the locked green padlock):
- Freeze your credit with all credit bureaus (see below for more information).
- Authorize two-factor authentication on all of your online accounts.
- Set up email and/or SMS text message alerts for purchases, especially those which do not require the credit card to be scanned.
- Use a secure router.
- Be extra careful and cautious when downloading your favorite store's app or any Cyber Monday deal apps. Verify the app you are downloading is legit to avoid putting your phone at risk of a virus.
Previously, we covered credit freezes in our Black Friday blog. Head over there for a direct link to credit freeze instructions for each of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion).
What is a credit freeze and how much does it cost?
It means that your credit report cannot be pulled and no new accounts can be opened. The cost varies by state but is, on average, around $10 for each transaction (each bureau and each freeze and/or thaw). Once your fee is paid, you’ll select a PIN (personal identification number), which is how you’ll unfreeze your accounts when needed in the future. Until recently, this option wasn’t available to the public unless identity theft had already occurred.
- Use credit cards that are connected to your bank accounts.
- Skip the antivirus software installation and updates for your computer.
- Leave your home wifi open to outside users; instead secure it with a password.
- Use the same password for all of your accounts.
- Make your passwords easy to guess; try this strong password generator tool or this hard to guess but easy to remember version.
- Click on ads or links you don’t know and trust.
- Use mobile apps to shop (unless you know and trust the app). For more information, click here.
Again, our goal is not to scare you aware from scoring big bargains this holiday season, but to shop wisely. The more you know, the more empowered you’ll be to make good, safe decisions. And your safety is our top concern! Contact us for more information on being Per Mar protected.