Cyber Monday: safety is in your wallet and at your fingertips, as long as you don't get carried away.
For people who love the idea of Black Friday discounts but hate the idea of Black Friday crowds, Cyber Monday is a digital blessing. Shopping online, however, doesn't mean you can ignore the potential for crime.
While shoppers are after deals, nefarious elements are after steals. At risk are your identity, your credit card information, and your bank account. However, the right Cyber Monday safety tips can help keep your identity and your credit where they're supposed to be: with you.
It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of a deal—even online. Your email inbox gets flooded with "one-day-only" deals. Your Facebook timeline overflows with the "deepest discounts of the year." And your newspaper is full of ads for every online retailer you've ever heard of.
While you're taking advantage of those deals, watch out for the criminals who are hoping to take advantage of you.
10 Cyber Monday Safety Tips
1. Look for the "S"
The Chicago Tribune reminds us to look for website addresses that begin with https://. The "s" in that address stands for secure, and it means the website you are on has encryption protocols in place to protect any data you share.
2. Don't click on that email ad
Yes, the offer for a free video game system from that big department store is enticing, but do you really think they're giving away video game systems? Chances are it's a scam, and if you click any links within the email, you could be at risk for identity theft.
3. Hold onto your credit card information
USA Today points out that it may be convenient to let a website keep your credit card information on file, but it's also risky. "While it’s a little more work to enter your information each time you make a purchase, you are less likely to be compromised if a website is hacked."
4. Vary your passwords
Remembering a lot of passwords can be challenging, but if you use the same password for multiple sites, a hacker can have a lot of fun with your money before you realize anything is wrong.
5. Check your credit card statements
Speaking of your money, check your credit card statements frequently during the holiday shopping season. Tom's Guide, a technology products review website points out, "if you find a transaction that doesn't match your purchases, your account may have been compromised." Get in touch with your card company right away if you notice unusual or unrecognized activity.
6. Shop with a credit card
There are several reasons to use a credit card online, rather than other online payment options, but the best reason could be to protect your money. CBS News mentions that in the event a hacker does get your credit card information, it can take time to get your money back. If that money comes directly from your bank account, you're out of cash until the fraudulent charges get corrected.
7. Be skeptical
If an offer seems too good to be true, it just may be. Always check that you are on a legitimate website before you make any purchases. Fake sites can look nearly identical to real ones, so that $20 six-person tent from your favorite outdoor store could be a site set up just to get your credit card information.
8. Stick with sites you know
When it comes to Cyber Monday safety, one of the most important things you can do is to stick with websites that you know are reputable. Again, those great deals aren't so great if your online retailer turns out to be a fraudulent, or even incompetent, business.
9. Update your browser
Whether you prefer Google Chrome, Safari, or an old version of Internet Explorer, get the latest updates before you start shopping online. While there are no guarantees, you at least have a fighting chance of avoiding malware and security breaches if you have the most up-to-date version of your favorite web browser.
10. Get identity fraud protection services
It's a sinking feeling to realize someone has your identifying information. It's not just your bank account that's at risk, either. Identity theft can wreak havoc on your credit rating, your reputation, and your stress levels. A professional identity fraud protection service can help you rectify these problems.
If you have a Pekin Insurance policy, you may already have identity theft services. Get in touch with your Pekin Insurance agent today and find out more.