The Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales are almost done - but shopping is far from over! We still login on ecommerce sites from time to time to check if the prices on our favorite items have dropped low enough. Billions of dollars will be spent shopping during these end-of-the-year sales and many online transactions will take place during the month of December. However, we are not the only people trying to take advantage of these sales - so are cybercriminals. Cybercriminals are most active during the holiday season, and a lot of fraudulent online activities happen during this time.
So, how to keep your bank account secure stay safe while shopping online? Just follow these steps :
1. Make sure the site is secure
Always make sure the site you are shopping from and paying money online is secure. You can do that by checking is the site has Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption installed. If the website starts with https:// and has a locked padlock near URL in the address bar. Do not enter your Debit/Credit card details unless the SSL encryption is installed.
2. Use strong passwords
Did you know? Hackers have a list of most commonly used passwords, that are deployed via bots to try on various websites at a time. Using common, weak passwords will increase the risk that your credentials could be randomly generated by these bots. Hence, make sure all your accounts have a strong password - including at least 10 characters with a combination of numbers, symbols, and upper and lowercase letters. While we are at it, it is not a good idea to use the name of your pet or kids or any other general information which can be easily found online.
3. Check for for fake and forged sites
One of the popular methods of hacking among cybercriminals is to replicate popular shopping sites. Users can then get tricked into providing sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details on these forged sites. To avoid this, check for :
- SSL installation and padlock symbol in the URL
- Check for typos and change in colour codes on the site.
- Forged sites usually have fake ads and email IDs.
- Always install an anti-phishing software on your device.
4. Try to stick to one brand that you trust
With so many sale offers, it is difficult to be loyal to one brand and shop only on one particular site. However, it is advised that you shop on those websites that are globally recognized as trusted brands. There are various ecommerce sites that have earned good customer rating and reputation over the years. It is highly possible that these brands have security measures in place to counter cyberattacks and scams.
5. Beware of too good to be true offers
Fake deals always exist on internet. But during holiday season, they increase exponentially! These fake deals are usually drive-by download attacks, which when clicked redirect you to a fake site that will automatically download and install malware on your device. These deals can also take you to a forged site and ask you to enter your personal information.
6. Enable 2FA
Enable two factor authentication (like One Time Password service) on all your accounts including your website login and bank account login. So, even if your username and password are hacked, cybercriminals cannot do transactions through your account unless they get hold of the OTP. Two factor authentication reduces fraud risks.