If you plan on looking for holiday deals online today, you may find more than you bargained for.
Criminals can create emails that look exactly like those that come from a well-known retailer. The emails entice shoppers with one of a kind deals that really do not exist.
"Cybercriminals can make things look real good and you just don't know where they are coming from," said Douglas Campbell, AMA TechTel Vice President. "Legitimate looking E-mails that you get actually direct you to somewhere else, they'll give you a number which is a DNS number and you don't know where you are going."
Campbell says protecting yourself is easy and inexpensive.
- Use Web Browser Protection
While shopping online, you may come across legitimate looking websites, but don't be fooled. Some may be the work of hackers, who are trying to access your personal information. Be sure you are always on a secure network.
- Install Security Protection
You can protect yourself also by installing reputable security software and Antivirus. Make sure the software has real-time and browser protection, which can block virus attacks as you surf the web. Also, make sure your computer has the necessary security upgrades.
- Do Your Homework
Check out the web site's refund and return policies, privacy policies and legal notices. These documents should be readily available to you.
- Be Click Aware
Be wise about clicking on links in emails from online retailers. Cybercriminals can create emails that look exactly the same as those that come from well-known online stores. Make sure you have a powerful spam filter that automatically detects suspicious emails as they arrive in your inbox.
- Look For Signs
On the corner of your browser, you should be able to view the site's security certificate and verify that it is issued to the web site you intended. You can do this by double clicking on the security icon and verifying that the name in the certificate matches the name of the retailer.
- Pay With Secure Method
Don't use a debit card when shopping online. This is direct source to your banking account. Try to always use a credit card or another secure transaction source, like PayPal. You can contest a transaction before your monthly statement and possibly not lose any money this way.
- Don't Give Out Too Many Details
Online retailers only ask you for basic information to process a payment (i.e. name, billing address and contact number). If you are concerned that a retailer may be requesting too much personal information (i.e. Social Security number, Driver's License, etc.) contact them directly by phone.
- Keep Records