National holidays are a time to get together with family, enjoy some time off, and relax. Unfortunately, they’re also a gold mine for cyber criminals. With Memorial Day almost upon us, retailers are promoting their special offers for the holiday weekend. To keep your online shopping deals from turning into a hacker’s opportunity to steal, here are some security best practices to keep top-of-mind:
- Update your devices. Any device you use for shopping should have the latest security software, operating systems, programs, and applications. Just as you update your computer, make sure to do the same for your tablet, smartphone, or any other device you use to make purchases. In addition, avoid shopping on any device while connected through public Wi-Fi or unsecured networks.
- Know your merchant. When making online transactions, make sure you’re dealing with a reputable site and take a careful look at the website’s URL. A good indicator that the retailer is legitimate and has a secure payment portal is if your web browser’s address bar displays a closed, green padlock.
- Be aware of phishing scams. Email phishing scams are always a threat, but be especially wary during peak shopping seasons. Be aware of any misspellings in communications and “too good to be true” deals from a retailer. When in doubt, just go to the site directly by typing in the URL to your browser. Make sure to delete any suspicious emails and mark them as “spam.”
- Keep track of payments. Keep records of your online transactions and monitor your bank and credit card statements to make sure there are no fraudulent purchases. Credit cards are often the best option for online purchases because if there is any suspicion of fraud, your creditor can investigate and remove the charge if it is indeed fraudulent.