95% of consumers say they’re planning to shop online this holiday season and due to COVID-19, online shopping is expected to be higher than ever before. This includes an expected increase of approximately 35% over last year’s holiday season.
Unfortunately, also increasing so far this year is cybercrime. It’s been up by over 400% since the pandemic began and shows no signs of stopping.
This increase in both online shopping and online cybercrime could lead to more incidents of malware, credit card fraud, identity theft, and other online crimes than we’ve seen in past years.
One of the ways to protect yourself and the employees at your Charlotte area business is to conduct employee IT security training and include safe online shopping practices as a part of this.
Why should employers worry about online holiday shopping? Because much of it is done on their networks while employees are at work.
During the holiday season, employees spend an average of 1.7 hours a day shopping online while at work.
Here are some safety tips to share for secure holiday shopping that won’t leave you as vulnerable to cybercrime.
Delete Your Payment Details After Checkout
When you shop online, some retailers will automatically save your payment details and you have to specifically remove them. While it may seem convenient to leave them in an online account that you use often, like Amazon, it can also leave your card details more at risk of being breached.
Your personal details are stored in a retailer’s database and this is what hackers go after in data breaches. Recent high-profile retailer’s that have had customer data breached include Macy’s, Estee Lauder, and Walgreens.
Make it a habit to immediately delete your payment details from your account right after you checkout.
Never Shop On a Public Wi-Fi
Whenever you’re on a public Wi-Fi, you should treat it as if a criminal is looking over your shoulder at everything you’re typing in, because that’s what can happen virtually.
A hacker connected to the same Wi-Fi network can easily tap into your data and steal personal details, including your credit card number.
If you want to shop online while away from a secure Wi-Fi, you should turn your device’s Wi-Fi off and use your mobile carrier’s connection, which will be more secure.
Shop With Alternate Payment Methods
You reduce your risk of a stolen credit card if you limit the number of sites that have your card details. For example, shopping with PayPal or a mobile wallet like Apple Pay, doesn’t share your card details with the retailer, so you can reduce your risk.
You can also use a pre-paid payment card, though this may be a little less convenient.
Beware of “Too Good To Be True” Emails and Online Ads
People aren’t only getting bombarded by legitimate sale emails and ads during the holiday season, they’re also getting hit with fake ones. Phishing scammers often send out sale emails that are enticing because of the deals they promise.
But these can lead to getting a malware infection on a malicious site or handing over credit card details to a fraudulent site.
Be very wary of sales ads and emails you receive and don’t click on them unless you know the link to be legitimate. It’s best to always go to a retailer’s site directly, where you should be able to see the same sale if the email is for real.
Never Shop a Site That Doesn’t Use HTTPS
HTTPS indicates that a site is secure and uses encryption to protect your data. If you’re on an unsecure site that means any information you send through a webform or shopping cart is unprotected from hackers.
Most shopping cart systems require the HTTPS, which involves the purchase of a site security certificate, to be in place before they’ll work properly. Always look for the lock icon to the left of the URL and the HTTPS (not just HTTP) at the beginning of the address.
Only Shop Sites You Know
It can be tempting to look for unique and unusual sites when you’re shopping for the holidays, but there are a lot of scam sites out there. Several of them steal product images from other sites and then if they ship you your order at all, it ends up being substandard products that look nothing like the photo.
Make sure to stick to online shopping websites that you know and that offer you some type of buyer protection.
For example, you can find unique gifts from online marketplaces that still offer some overall protection, like Amazon and Etsy.
Invest in Your Security & Productivity with Employee Training
Rocky Knoll Technologies offers several types of employee training programs including cybersecurity, Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Desktop Apps training. Improve your business by giving your employees the knowledge they need to do their best.
Contact us today to schedule a free training consultation. Call 704.594.7292 or reach us online.