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6 Holiday Shopping Tips to Stay Safe Online

As holiday shopping is moving into full swing, here are a few online shopping tips about how to stay safe online while buying gifts for everyone on your list.

1. MAKING A CYBERSECURITY LIST (and check it twice)

  • Protect each account with a unique, complex password that is at least 12 characters long – and use a password manager!
  • Use multifactor authentication (2FA/MFA) for any account that allows it.
  • Turn on automatic software updates, or install updates as soon as they are available.
  • Know how to identify phishing attempts and report phishing to your email provider or work.

Braver has recorded short training videos up on our website to teach you how to do all of these items, they are free… watch them anytime!

2. KEEPING AN EYE ON YOUR STATEMENTS

Your first line of defense against identity theft and fraud is to pay close attention to your financial records, like bank statements and credit card transactions. You can usually follow this data up to the minute online. Flag any suspicious activity (like being charged for a purchase you didn’t make) and contact the institution immediately.

3. KNOWING HOW MUCH ITEMS SHOULD COST

When shopping online, have a general sense of how much the items you want to buy should cost. Not only will that make you a comparison shopping extraordinaire, but you can also get a sense if an online store has prices that are too good to be true. In these cases, you might pay less, but then you might get an item that doesn’t match the description, is a counterfeit, or you might pay and not get any item at all! A little bit of research can help protect you

4. BEWARE OF PUBLIC WI-FI

Public wi-fi and computers are convenient, and sometimes necessary to use. However, public wi-fi is not very secure – you shouldn’t ever online shop or access important accounts (like banking) while connected to public wi-fi. If you must buy a few gifts online while away from your home or work network, use a VPN (a virtual private network) or mobile hotspot.

5. GRINCH BOTS

Last year, a record number of so-called “Grinch Bots” were recorded. These are automated programs that quickly buy up popular toys, sneakers, or other items and then resell the item for a huge markup to real people. The best way to defang Grinch Bots is to refuse to buy from them and to only buy items from vendors you can verify.

6. SHARING IS NOT ALWAYS CARING

While you need to share data to make a purchase online, you should be wary of any retailer that is requesting more information than you feel comfortable sharing. Oftentimes, you don’t need to fill out every field, and you shouldn’t if you don’t want to. If an online store requires you to share more information than you want, find another retailer on the internet – or visit a shop in person!

KEEP THE SPIRIT OF CYBERSECURITY GOING ALL YEAR LONG

These are some great tips for shopping safely online for the holidays, but they are also sensible habits to follow no matter what month it is. Want to make some cybersecurity resolutions for the new year? Check out our Comprehensive Cybersecurity Training and educate yourself on all avenues of cyber safety.

Every day, your business depends on information technology (IT) to operate. Thank you for letting us be there for you.

Braver Technology Solutions  |  WeMakeITWork@BraverTechnology.com
Boston 617.315.8515 | Taunton 508.824.2260 | Providence 401.484.7900

 

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