Cyber Monday – Safe Shopping Tips

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Shopping cart iconWith the holiday shopping season hitting full steam and today being “Cyber Monday”, we offer the following safety tips to help you stay secure while shopping online.

Beware of Unexpected Package Tracking Emails:   Be cautious of unsolicited emails.  Ransomware and phishing scams often use this heavy online shopping season to launch these types of malware campaigns.

Caution with Coupon Codes:  If the discount looks too good to be true, it likely is.  Promo codes from untrusted sources require caution. Don’t click links to copy the code, instead copy it and use it directly on the retailer’s website (even if it’s a retail brand you trust).  If you MUST click a link in your email, before doing so, hover over the URL and make sure it’s taking you to the legitimate website.

Opt for Credit over Debit Cards:  Use credit cards instead of debit cards, when possible.  Credit cards offer consumers more protections if the card is compromised and won’t impact your checking account during the holiday season if there is an issue.

Use Unique Passwords for EACH Online Store:  Never reuse the same password on different websites, especially retailers.  Instead, create a unique passphrase for each website you shop on.  Same goes for loyalty cards.  Create a unique password for these account too.  You can store these passwords using encrypted password vaults like Password Safe or LastPass.

Shopping from the Office?  Don’t use your NSHE email address when making online purchases, and never use the same password you do for your work login.  Doing so places NSHE at risk.

Use a Special Shopping Email Address:  Have a separate email address for shopping or deal websites.  It will help you identify sneaky spam that might bypass spam filters and protect your trusted account that you use for work or family communications.

Don’t Save Your Info:  Never save your credit card information in retail sites and web browsers.  It might make purchases faster, but it could put your card number at risk if the retailer is compromised.

Get Creative With Password Reset Questions:  When filling out account information, opt for the password reset question that isn’t public.  For example, don’t use the street you grew up on, as it could be found online.  Instead pick something that can be an opinion question (favorite movie, food, etc.)  OR, alternatively, you can even make up your answers so only you know.  You can always keep these answers in a password vault.