How to Avoid Hackers: 10 Tips for Holiday Shopping Online

Person holiday shopping online.

Person holiday shopping online.

Why deal with the hassle, stress, and dangers when shopping online? Your inbox is most likely already flooded with deals that you can’t afford to miss out on. But holiday shopping is as productive for cybercriminals as it is for online retailers. Pay attention to your online transactions and follow these tips to protect your personal information and stay safe while holiday shopping online.

Shop From A Secure And Trusted Device

Never shop from a tablet, phone, or computer that doesn’t have antivirus software. Not only could it be infected by malware, but any information entered into an unprotected device, including credit card numbers, is at risk of being stolen. Always use a protected device with up to date protection software.

Shop Using A Secure Connection

Your data and information can easily be stolen if a hacker controls the network you’re shopping on. It’s recommended to shop only from your own secure network instead of a public network. Also make sure any website you’re on has the HTTPS lock symbol in your URL window, instead of HTTP.

Don’t Shop On Browsers

Hackers could trick you into clicking on a false link if you’re trying to shop in a browser. It’s much safer to use trusted online retail sites or applications. If you’re going to shop on a browser, trusted experts recommend Mozilla Firefox, as it has the strongest privacy tools of all the browsers out right now.

Some Deals Are Too Good To Be True

If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Cybercriminals know that people are looking for the best possible prices and will often lure unwitting victims into a trap with fake deals. Never open attachments in emails promising unbelievable deals and only use trusted vendors when placing your orders.

Review Bank Statements

Most banks and cards will refund you if your information has been stolen, so it’s important to keep an eye on your bank statements and make sure there haven’t been any mysterious purchases made. If there have been, call your bank or credit card company immediately, notify them of the purchase, and place an immediate hold on your accounts.

Don’t Use Debit

Credit card fraud can be frustrating and common but believe it or not, credit cards tend to offer more protection from cyber criminals than debit cards do. If you can, use credit cards while doing your online shopping then immediately pay off the balance with your debit. This is much safer than using your debit card directly.

Use Unique Logins

Yes, it’s a pain remembering more than one login but if you use the same username and password for every retailer then a hacker only has to get the info for one to be able to access all the others. It’s recommended you use different login details for every retailer you shop with and keep the info in a Word file, so you don’t forget.

Make Passwords Difficult

Additionally, passwords should always be as long as possible and use a mix of upper case, lower case, numbers, and symbols. If you’re having trouble remembering all your passwords for each retailer, feel free to use a password manager to help.

Read the Privacy Policies

Each website has its own privacy policy. It may be tedious but it’s a good idea to read each one thoroughly. Some sites might seem okay but will sell your information to the highest bidder.

Use Two-Step Verification

It can be tedious, but two-step verification adds an extra layer of security to your account by making you verify yourself even if you know the password. They might ask for an email or phone number or a special code sent via text. This type of verification could easily stop someone from making all their holiday purchases on your account.

Your security and safety are most important to us. Follow these tips to stay safe and stay shopping for the best deals during the holidays.