One of the easiest ways to get your personal data stolen is online shopping. Cyber Monday is one of the riskiest times of the year for credit card use. Hackers and thieves gear up all year to prepare to hit retailers and gain the personal data of millions of unsuspecting customers. What can you do to protect yourself or at least mitigate the damage caused by fraud?
Tip #1 – Search for Items on Websites Instead of Search Engines
Search engines can be misleading. A good con-artist can create a link and send it up the rankings on a number of search engines like Chrome, Edge, and Bing. You could click on a link that takes you to a fabricated page, takes you through the entire buying process, and steals your credit card information. A good sign that a page is not real is the price. If the price is ridiculously low even for Cyber Monday, take a look at the URL (the “www” address in the search bar) and make sure the address is correct.
Tip #2 – Phishing Email Coupons
If you get an email with a coupon from a store you NEVER visit online or in person, it is a good indication the email is fake. Do not click any of the links and block the sender. Most Cyber Monday deals do not require coupons.
Tip #3 – Do Not Purchase Anything Using a QR Code
Using the naked eye, it is impossible to determine a QR code’s validity. Hackers have even been able to create an overlay containing fake QR codes and place them on top of real ones on official websites. There are tools to help consumers avoid this problem. Norton’s Snap QR Reader will scan a code and let you preview a website without actually visiting it (Android users can download it here and iOS users can download it here).
Tip #4 – Keep Track of the Payment Methods You Use at Each Site
If you know which card or other payment method you used to make a purchase, you can more easily narrow down which retailer was affected by a breach. In addition, understand the protections in place for the payment methods you use. If you use PayPal, know their fraud policies. If you are using a credit card, understand how to make a claim and what their process is.
If you run into credit card or debt problems this holiday season, you may need the assistance of an experienced counselor and attorney. Elias Dsouza has the skills and experience to get you back on track. Contact Elias for a free consultation.