Online Holiday Shopping Guidelines

Holiday season is back again which means everyone is hustling around buying gifts for all. Though gift buying is fun and exciting we have to be cautious of the hackers and scams. Unfortunately, scams happen all the time and become increased during the holiday shopping season. Protect yourself and accounts with these online holiday shopping guidelines from Prescient’s CIO, Jerry Irvine.

  • Use Security Software (i.e. Antivirus, Adware Protection, VPN, etc.)
  • Beware of Emails – Over 90% of all viruses and malware are delivered via email.
    • Don’t open emails from people or organizations you don’t know
    • Don’t open attachments or click on links in unknown emails
      • Hackers send viruses in attachments that look like coupons or other sales data
      • Hackers make links in their emails look like they are connecting to your bank or a store website but they actually take you to malicious sites.
    • Don’t use public Wi-Fi
      • Hackers use these Wi-Fi networks to SNIFF out your data and personal information.
      • Never reveal personal information (passwords, bank account numbers, etc.) when on an unsecured Wi-Fi connection.
    • Secure your Internet Browser (MS Edge, Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari)
      • Do not store user ids and passwords, credit card information, etc. in your browser
      • Use Private Browsing or Incognito options
      • Set the browser to automatically Clear Cookies on exiting the application
    • When searching with a Search Engine (Google, Yahoo, etc.) do not go past the 2 page.
      • If what you are looking for doesn’t show up in the first of second page change your search question.
      • Items past the 2nd page have a greater possibility of being malicious sites.
    • When making purchases online:
      • If possible do not create an account, check out as a Guest so you don’t have to store your personal information or credit card data
      • Use a payment solution such as PayPal, Visa Pay, Apple Pay, Google Wallet, and Amazon Payments.
        • These systems do not send your credit card number to the vendor. They send a transaction number that can only be used once.
      • Change your passwords regularly.
        • Create passwords with upper case letters and numbers.
        • Use Multi-Form-Factor authentication (i.e. use biometrics, or mobile device texts as a secondary means of signing in)
      • Be selective about what you post on social networks – you can’t delete it.
        • Hackers use this information to gain access to your personal information as well as your friends and families.

When shopping online this holiday consider these tips and tactics to keep your accounts safe and the season merry. Save time worrying about your cyber safety and enjoy more time with your family. Hear more from Jerry Irvine when he visited WBBM Newsradio here. We hope you have a Happy and Safe Holidays from Prescient Solutions.

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