Ah, the holidays. Drinking hot cocoa as fresh snow falls outside, avoiding malicious cyberthreats, and coming together to exchange warm tidings and gifts.
One of our favorite parts is that we can buy everyone’s holiday gifts from the comfort of our homes (and pajamas). But one of our least favorite parts is that not every website is secure.
Here’s a few ways you can stay safe while online shopping, and keep your computer off the naughty list.
1. Beware of prices that are too good to be true.
We’ve all gotten those Facebook ads featuring exactly what we’ve been looking at, for a third of the price. Well, those sites might not be secure—or real. It’s not worth the risk.
2. Don’t open random holiday card emails.
Yeah, you read that right. If you don’t know who it’s from, it’s probably malicious. What a way to ruin the holidays.
3. Same goes for package delivery notices.
There are a lot of phishing emails going around right now that try and get you to click a link for your “delivery tracking” that really just installs malicious software on your computer.
4. Double-check the website address before buying.
Sometimes, an ad or email featuring a great deal might look like it’s from a trusted site just to fool you. Make sure the URL seems right before entering your credit card info.
5. Mix up your passwords.
This is on every one of our lists for a reason. If you use the same password on every site that you shop on, you’re more likely to be hacked.
6. Avoid making purchases over public or open WiFi.
These networks aren’t secure, which means anyone could potentially steal your information. And sometimes these networks are fake. They’re called honeypots and they lure people in by posing as fake legitimate networks to steal your data.
7. Don’t let websites keep your credit card information on file.
Especially lesser-known sites. Why? Because if they get hacked, your data is compromised.
8. Read through your credit card bills.
Let’s face it: you’re probably going to be making a lot of purchases for the rest of the month. But that means it’ll be easy to miss a fraudulent charge. Better to be safe than stolen from!
Follow these tips, and Happy holiday shopping!