Most cyber criminals are looking for money. They create clever ways to steal from unsuspecting online shoppers. By monitoring online shopping activities or sending out fake notes called ‘phishing’ emails, these unsavory criminals can steal account data or identities. Avoid being a victim by following a few simple rules to keep your data safe.
A common way scammers attempt to gain access to personal bank information and credit cards is through ‘phishing’ emails. These legitimate looking emails encourage users to click on links that appear to originate from banks and credit card companies. Once a user clicks on links in the email, they are redirected to a site that, although it appears real, is actually a site controlled by an online scammer. Once information is entered at the site, it is captured by the ‘phisher.’ Avoid this type of scam by simply going to the site mentioned yourself by opening a new internet browser window rather than clicking on an email link.
Conducting sensitive transactions through free WiFi hot spot locations is dangerous. Your account credentials or other sensitive information can easily be swiped from the wireless traffic.
Before entering sensitive information into a website, look for signs which indicate a secure transaction. A padlock symbol located in the browser window is a sign of secure transactions. If you click on this icon, you can verify the security certificate is up-to-date and issued to the same company you are visiting. “Https” (note the ‘s’) should appear before the web address in the address bar also. This signifies the page is secure and any data entered onto the page will be sent across the internet securely.
Always log out of sensitive websites. It is possible for an attacker to hijack a session that has been left open. Most sites perform an auto logout after a period of inactivity, however attackers can get into an account if the session is not purposefully terminated.
When setting up online accounts, make sure to use different log in and password information on each one. Passwords should be as long as possible and contain a mixture of letters, numbers, and symbols.
Do not allow websites to store your credit card information. This might be convenient, but stored passwords create opportunities for your information to be exposed if the online retailer ever has an issue with your critical data.
Use the same credit card for all of your online purchases and only use that card online. This will make it easier to track your spending and spot any strange activity.