Online shopping has been overtaking brick-and-mortar retail for years, and the COVID-19 pandemic has put the shift to ecommerce into overdrive. As cases resurge in many areas, consumers are increasingly turning to online gift-buying as a safer alternative to crowded stores. However, while virtual aisles hold no threats of COVID-19 spread, cyberthreats loom large, particularly threats against user passwords
Consumers are woefully unaware and unprepared to protect themselves against threats as their shopping moves online this holiday season. A recent survey by Keeper found 1 in 3 Americans are more concerned about finding the best deals this holiday shopping season than protecting their online security and more than half (54%) don’t feel they’re prepared in the event that they’re hacked.
Here are five tips to protect your online security during the 2020 holiday shopping season.
1- Pay with credit cards, not debit cards
It’s good practice to never use a debit card to make online purchases. Payment card theft is one of the most common types of cybercrime, and it can happen even at known retailers. While consumer protection laws limit consumers’ liability for fraudulent credit card charges, debit cards don’t offer the same levels of protection. Additionally, a cybercriminal armed with your debit card number can empty your bank account, leaving you with no money to pay your household bills.
2- Shop at familiar stores
‘Tis the season for cybercriminals to set up phony online storefronts to phish for payment card data and other personal information. Patronize well-known retailers or stores whom you have previously done business with. If you are tempted by a merchant you’ve never heard of, Google the company’s name and look for its social media sites, customer reviews, and its record at the Better Business Bureau. Steer clear of any merchant who requests payment by wire transfer or cryptocurrency.
3- Beware of social media “coupons”
Phony social media “coupons” are another scam that’s increased in frequency since the beginning of the pandemic. Often, these coupons claim that recipients can get deeply discounted or free merchandise, with even more rewards if they share the link to their social media feeds. The links lead to malicious websites that attempt to phish for victims’ personal information, install drive-by malware on their computer, or both.
4- Beware of phishing schemes
Phishing schemes have risen dramatically since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and schemes are getting more sophisticated. In addition to email, you may receive phishing attempts through social media messaging or SMS. These messages, which are often designed to appear as if they’ve come from legitimate retailers or shipping companies, may ask you to “confirm” your account or purchase information by clicking on a link, or they may contain attachments that purport to be a “receipt,” “shipping notice,” or “coupon”. Never click on any unsolicited links or attachments. If you doubt the legitimacy of a message, go directly to the company’s website and log in that way.
5- Protect your passwords
Use strong, unique passwords for every online account, enable multi-factor authentication (2FA) on all sites that support it, and use a password manager such as Keeper. Keeper generates high-strength random passwords for all your sites and apps and stores them for you in a personal, encrypted digital vault. You’ll never lose or forget another password again, and you’ll enjoy these additional features:
Put more than just passwords in your encrypted digital vault; Keeper can protect your sensitive files, documents, photos, and videos, too!
- Securely scan and store your payment cards for faster checkout on websites and apps.
- Works on every mobile device and computer that you use and syncs instantly.
- Supports all two-factor authentication methods, including Windows Hello, fingerprint ID, SMS, and security devices such as YubiKey.
- Protect the entire family with Keeper Family! Secure and easily share passwords, insurance forms, medical records, estate planning documents, tax documents, photos, videos, and more.