The Hidden Dangers of Holiday Online Shopping
Nov 2, 2023 | 3 minute READ
Shopping sprees. Unbeatable sales. The search for that perfect gift.
As we say farewell to the autumn leaves, many of us look forward to the joyous holiday season – and finding that perfect online bargain. Meanwhile, scammers are on the lookout for their next easy target.
A Cybersecurity Guide for the Festive Season
This holiday season will have millions of Americans turning to online stores for the unbeatable convenience. In fact, 20% of all retail sales already happen online! This number is expected to continually increase to a hefty tune of $490.4 billion in revenue over the next few years.
However, while online shopping may be convenient, it’s crucial to remember that with increased online activity comes increased cyber threats. Scammers, hackers, bad actors, all love when you spend money online.
With many shoppers looking for the perfect online deal, it makes them more likely to fall for a scam – or phishing attack. Sadly, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported in 2022 that consumers lost nearly $8.8 billion to fraud. It also named online shopping as the 2nd highest form of fraud, right behind imposters or bad actors.
Why is the Holiday Season a Prime Time for Cyberattacks?
The sheer number of transactions during the holiday season means more opportunities for cybercriminals to strike.
In the rush and excitement of finding the best deals, even the most cautious can overlook red flags.
3. New Shoppers:
Those who may not be accustomed to online shopping are much more vulnerable to an attack.
20% of all retail sales happen online
$8.8 billion lost to fraud in 2022
Online shopping is the 2nd highest form of fraud
The Most Common Threats:
· Phishing Scams:
Emails or messages that mimic legitimate companies, luring you into providing personal or financial information.
· Fake Online Stores:
Websites created to look genuine, aiming to steal credit card details or deliver counterfeit or non-existent goods.
Malicious software can be downloaded onto your device, often without you knowing, to steal information.
Tips to Ensure Safe Online Shopping this Holiday Season:
1. Secure Connection:
Always ensure the website you are shopping on begins with ‘https://’. The ‘s’ indicates that the site uses encryption to protect data.
2. Shop Known Brands:
Stick to established retailers or sites with good reviews.
3. Be Cautious with Emails and Social Media:
Never click on links from unknown senders. If you receive a deal that seems too good to be true, go to the retailer’s official site directly.
4. Use Credit Over Debit:
Credit cards often offer better fraud protection.
5. Regularly Monitor Account Activity:
Keep an eye out for unauthorized transactions.
6. Use Strong, Unique Passwords:
Avoid using easily guessable passwords like ‘password123’. Do not repeat password on other sites and consider using a password manager.
7. Two-Factor Authentication (2FA):
Always enable 2FA (also called MFA) when available. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring two forms of identification.
8. Keep Software Updated:
Ensure your operating systems, browsers, and security software are updated to defend against the latest threats. TREYSTA monitors all managed clients for any necessary updates or rollouts, so they never have to worry.
9. Avoid Public Wi-Fi for Shopping:
Unsecured networks can be easily hacked, exposing your personal information. Shop at home over secure Wi-Fi.
10. Educate and Update:
At TREYSTA, we emphasize the importance of continual education for our clients, with tools like Security Awareness Training. Ensure that your team knows the latest threats and how to stay safe online.
Stay Safe this Holiday Season
While the holiday season brings joy and cheer, it also brings increased cybersecurity risks. Remember, think before you click. Read reviews and stick to known brands. Do not become another statistic of fraud!
From all of us at TREYSTA we wish you a safe and joyous start to the holiday shopping season!
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