Ho Ho Ho…or OH NO! OH NO! OH NO!!! How to Avoid Holiday Cyber Criminals by dStringer

The first week of December has come and gone and most of us procrastinators are finally beginning to start our Christmas shopping.  Shopping on line has become so easy lately, that this year, on line sales are rivaling "Black Friday" sales.  In some cases, you can order as late as Christmas eve and have your gift delivered on time!  So simple and convenient...but also a party invitation for Cyber criminal activity.

Just like old fashioned holiday shopping is open season for thieves...on line shopping creates a whole other field of opportunity for "bad guys".  But, there are things you can do to avoid being a victim and having your "Ho Ho Ho" turn into "Oh No! Oh No! Oh No!"

Here are six holiday tips to consider when on line...

  1. Stick to well-known websites

The first thing you can do to be safe while shopping online is to only use trusted, official websites. Start your shopping by going directly to the store’s website as opposed to using a search engine to find what you need. Also, only continue if you see that the website is secure by checking that the URL begins with HTTP and that the lock symbol is present. 

  1. Only use a secure Wi-Fi connection

This is a fundamental one, yet people continue to ignore it. Public Wi-Fi may be convenient, especially if you are relaxing at a cafe and spot a bargain online which you can’t resist. However, it’s best to carry out purchases from the safety of your home, where you have control over who else is connected to your network.

  1. Check your statements

Keep up to date with all transactions carried out with your bank account as the sooner you spot something unusual, the quicker and easier it will be to avoid bigger problems. If you spot something suspicious, contact your bank immediately.

  1. Be aware of the returns policy

When shopping online, remember that the returns or exchange policy may be different to that in store. Also, some stores may only offer store credit on reduced goods, so always check before you buy.

  1. Keep your computer updated and protected

Giving out your bank details online involves an element of trust, so the best way to ensure that nobody else gets their hands on you sensitive information is to have a protected and up-to-date computer. Keep your operating system updated and always use a trusted antivirus that best fits your needs.

  1. Be wary of email offers

It’s common to be bombarded with emails offering you great discounts or offers, but treat them with suspicion. Avoid clicking on links sent via email and verify that the offers are valid on the official website instead.

And as usual, if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us here at Alcala Consulting.  We will be more than happy to offer up more guidelines for on-line safety.

626-449-5549/alcalaconsulting.com