Although these tips are for the holiday season, some of them can be applied throughout the year to stay safe. FBI has shared 12 days of tips for safe and secure shopping.
Day 1: Make sure that your phone and computers are up to date before going online. This can offer more protection against viruses and malware.
Day 2: Don’t use public Wi-Fi networks. Attackers can steal personal data exchanged on such networks.
Day 3: Think twice if something looks like a potential scam. Be aware of the indicators such as payment only through wire transfer or gift cards.
Day 4: This is the time when tickets to events may be on the higher side. If you find vendors who sell the same tickets for a significantly lower rate, remember that this is the time a lot of counterfeit tickets are being sold.
Day 5: If you find products at low rates on websites that you’ve not heard of, beware of scams that make you pay and don’t deliver anything.
Day 6: Opt for payment via credit card than a debit card for more security.
Day 7: If you’re shopping for digital gift cards, always prefer trusted merchants. Check for cards that have pins at the back uncovered then recovered.
Day 8: Change your passwords across all accounts. Use unique and strong passwords that aren’t easy to guess.
Day 9: Stay abreast of charity scams. Before donating anything, do some research to ensure that the donations are indeed going to legitimate non-profits.
Day 10: Social engineering scams are quite popular during this time of the year. If you find a deal that is too good to be true, it probably is.
Day 11: Beware of links and attachments that promise the final chance of buying the perfect gift.
Day 12: Monitor bank and card statements for unauthorized transactions. In case there is something suspicious, report it right away.
The FBI asks victims to report cybercrime immediately to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center or the local FBI office.