The next seven days are sure to be big shopping days, especially online. The dramatic rise of shopping online also increases your risk for being the victim of cybercrime. Here are a few quick tips to help protect you and your family during the busy season ahead.

  1. Shop smart. if you’re shopping online, use only the direct, well-known URL for the business. If you’re not sure, double-check your browser to be sure it leads to the actual store you’re looking for.
  2. Stop before you click. Always use caution before you click on links. If you hover over a link, your computer will reveal the website before you click on it. If you don’t recognize it, don’t click it. And always be careful opening attachments.
  3. Watch for fakes. The holidays are a scammers dream. Watch for fake package tracking email, fake “offers” from big brands (no, Amazon doesn’t have a “free gift” for you) and fake credit card confirmation requests.
  4. Keep it clean. Ensure that all of your devices have up-to-date anti-virus/anti-malware software.
  5. Protect your passwords. Keep your passwords up to date and complex. Use multi-factor authentication wherever possible.
  6. Use text alerts. Most banks and store credit cards offer text alerts for any suspicious activity. We think it’s a great feature to use.
  7. Beware of WiFi hotspots and public computers. As always, its important to avoid unknown public WiFi hotspots since they are a favorite way for the bad guys to sneak onto unsuspecting devices.

Here are a few additional ways to be cyber smart from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.