When you whip yourself into a frenzy over countless - Cyber Monday deals, be careful out there. Cyber thieves are trying to get your business, too.
Cyber thievery is more common than most people suspect. That’s why you need to be vigilant so that your financial information isn’t stolen.
You’re mostly on your own. Some 49 percent of consumers believe themselves to be primarily responsible for protecting accounts against fraud, according to The Identity Theft Council, as opposed to banks, government or other services.
One in six fraud victims has had an account compromised with a government agency, insurance agency, or healthcare provider. And 1.5 million consumers had fraudulent financial accounts opened in their name in 2015.
According to Neal O’Farrell, executive director of the Council, here’s how you can avoid problems:
– Check it before you click it: Clever misspellings or lookalike sites can trick busy shoppers—especially the older generation. For example, a Macy’s website that’s spelled www.maceys.com is probably trying to scam you. So double check that the URL you’re clicking is official.
– Don’t click on ads: Hackers are increasingly targeting companies that serve up flashy Flash ads, embedding them with nasty malware to compromise your identity. So avoid clicking or even mousing over ads online.
– Patch it up!: Drive-by malware downloads can take advantage of any software on your device that hasn’t been updated with the latest security patch. Before you shop, ensure the software on your device is completely up-to-date.
– Shop on familiar, secure sites: “A good rule of thumb is to always look for an “S” in the URL because a website with a URL that starts with “https” indicates a safe and secure site,” according to IDT911.com.
“Shoppers can prevent being victims of fraud if they just quickly look at their web address.”
– Don’t Use a Debit Card. “While shopping for the holiday’s hottest items,” adds IDT911.com, “consumers should avoid using their debit card for online? purchases.
Under the Fair Credit Billing Act, a debit card will not be reimbursed if it has been attained and used by an online thief. Experts recommend using a credit card because charges can be disputed if a consumer has been the victim of fraud or identity theft.”
– Make sure your security software is updated. ” Without comprehensive security protection online, you’re inviting identity thieves to steal your financial information,” notes CreditCards.com.
“Make sure you have the latest version of security software installed on your computer. Also beware of clicking on links in e-mails that appear to come from reputable retailers.”
– Avoid Wireless Terminals and WiFi Transactions. ” Many retailers and restaurants have recently implemented wireless credit card terminals to speed transactions along, but security can be virtually nonexistent,” adds CreditCards.com.