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Cyber Monday online safety tips

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Cyber Monday is the Monday after Thanksgiving and is considered the busiest day for online shopping.  Finding the best deals online have become part of the holiday season.  Some retailers have already started announcing their deals for Cyber Monday.  Unfortunately, criminals and scammers are also looking forward to this day.  Cyber criminals are hoping unsuspecting shoppers will click on their fake websites and emails loaded with enticements to take your money or even worse – your identity.  Help protect your personal information and transactions by following these tips.

1.  Avoid public Wi-Fi hotspots

There are many free public wi-fi hotspots today and they are good for just browsing but do not use them for online shopping.  Your information could be easily viewed by others on the network. [Read the 4 public wi-fi safety tips post]

2.  Keep your anti-virus software up to date

Keeping an updated anti-virus software helps to protect against known threats.  Make sure it is automatically updated when new updates are available.   [Read the shopping for security software post for tips on buying security software]

3.  Pay attention to URLs

In addition to looking for the ‘s’ in https:// look at the entire URL for any misspellings.  Malicious websites may be similar to the legitimate site but with a subtle difference.  For example, instead of a ‘.com’ it may have ‘.net’ at the end. [Read is your information submitted online secure]

4.  Read privacy policies

If you already have an idea of some sites you will be shopping online go ahead and review their privacy policies before Monday to understand how they will be protecting your information.

5.  Use caution when clicking links

Creating malicious links in unsolicited emails is still a highly method used by criminals.  There are going to be some great deals but if a deal sounds too good to be true – it probably is.  Use caution when opening email attachments.  If there is a link, know how to see the URL it is trying to take you to before you click on the link.  [Read the think before you click post]

6.  Use strong and unique passwords

For your online accounts use strong and unique passwords.  [Read the top 5 password best practices]

7.  Check statements and keep receipts

Keep documentation in case your order is not shipped or when you receive the order it is not correct.  Be sure to check your credit card statements to ensure there are no extra purchases.  If there are any discrepancies report them immediately.

Cyber Monday and the holiday season can be a great opportunity to take advantage of some great deals – especially if free shipping is offered.  Following these tips can help you stay safe as you make those online purchases.

Christina Bonds

Christina Bonds is an Application Specialist in the Web Technology department at Elon University.

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