Cyber Monday Online Security: Let no scam artist blow out your identity

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By: Phil Bradford
on 22nd Nov,2016

Cyber Monday brings in a lot of lucrative deals for the online shoppers. However, if shoppers aren’t alert, then they can be robbed of their dollars by the cyber criminals. For safe online shopping ideas, check out here.

Cyber Monday is one of the most lucrative money-saving times of the year for the avid online shoppers. However, the advantage isn’t just reaped by the buyers, but also by the scammers. These scammers rob and infringe upon their target's identity, steal their confidential financial data, siphon off loads of dollars from the accounts and leave their victims in a total mess.

If you’re planning to shop online this Cyber Monday, then here’s how you may secure your personal data and protect your dollars from a potential cyber disaster.

Types of Cyber Monday Threats:

1 Malvertising

It's a combination of ‘malicious advertising’ that uses harmful online bots placed in banners and pop-up ads to spread malware. Pre-clicks or post-clicks infect computers. Good looking ads infect a user’s computer without having the user click on those ads. These malware's usurp user’s banking and credit card information as well as other confidential data and supply the cyber criminals with these stolen data.

2 Web-content clickbaits

There are many spoofed websites that embed click baits on their websites’ content to attract readers and make them click those hyperlinks. As soon as one clicks on one of those malicious links, they are redirected to some other rogue websites from where they spread the computer virus or lure users into sharing their personal information over there.

3 Deceptive websites

These type of websites are built around travel, shopping or charity themes to attract larger number of traffic and rob their visitors’ financial data as well as personal details.

4 Email phishing

Mails sent from supposedly credible sources are full of malware. These malwares steal user’s personal data and online browsing history. They come in the guise of online shopping discounts or coupons and infect their users’ computer, thereby exposing them to serious identity theft crises.

5 Social media cyber risk

Social media is one of the most prolific breeding grounds for online scams. People get drifted with some of the trending hashtags like ‘#cybermondaycoupons’ or ‘#bestcybermondaydeals’ floated by the scam artists, thereby making people more susceptible to identity thefts, cyberbullying, and other cyber crimes like money laundering. Some of the hashtags have links to predatory websites that promise cyber deals or giveaways to help cyber criminals run their rackets.

How to protect your personal data during Cyber Monday shopping:

1 Be vigilant

Stay on your toes while shopping online. When browsing through any holiday-styled websites for shopping, avoid ones that look too good to be true.

2 Look for telltale signs

Always watch out for a request to submit your personal details or to fill up an online form with the promise of freebies as they could be fake and may contain malware. Keep an eye on the URLs and move out of the website, if its URL changes from the original one.

3 Avoid too lucrative banners/pop-up ads

Never click on banners/pop-up ads, if you find anything fishy about them. If at all you want to verify the deal or promotion offered by a reputed brand, then make sure you visit their original home page and check the offers there.

4 Rise above the online freebies

Stay away from all free downloadables or social media hashtags as well as Emails that have been sent by unidentified sources/senders. For example: Never click or open Emails/hyperlinks informing you about an online shopping parcel or a shipment that you aren’t aware.

5 Shop at websites with HTTPS web address

Before you shop, always look for the HTTPS in the web address of e-commerce portals or any other online entity. It’s because websites starting with HTTPS ensure safe financial activities and shopping experience. Your personal information will be safe and turned into encrypted data to protect you from identity theft as well as other online scams.

What should be done during emergencies?

1 Inform banks about the loss of credit cards

In case, you lose or misplace your credit card, you should notify your bank/credit card issuer about the same in writing at once. Banks can prevent a heavy financial loss if you alert them on time and they can even provide you with a fresh one at the shortest time possible.

2 Shop at secure websites

Shop or make payments only on secure websites. These websites display icons indicating that your credit card information is safe with them. They may even have a padlock icon to become more trustworthy.

3 Take advantage of account feedback

Many banks provide account feedback services where you’d be notified via Emails or text messages about any transaction out of your account. You can keep a tab on the activities happening around your bank accounts.

4 Carry digital wallets

Many digital wallet programs that have developed over the past few years like Visa Checkout, Apple Pay, etc. These are online payment platforms, and hence, you can conduct paperless or cardless transactions by your cell phone.

5 Organize credit card information

For safe keeping of your credit card details, you may keep a separate file for them. Make sure you check your credit card statements at regular intervals. Access your free credit reports and go through them to weed out any unnecessary or unidentified items reported on them.

Lastly, you can take advantage of the multi-factor authentication where you’d be able to close down your online personal bank accounts from the rest of the world to prevent phishing, online fraud, man-in-the-browser, and man-in-the-middle-attacks. It’s also known as “two-step” or “two-factor” authentication process that acts as a second ring of protection to your financial assets.

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