How to safeguard your identity and step up your cybersecurity game

 Measures to protect your cybersecurity game

How to safeguard your identity and step up your cybersecurity game


According to eMarketer, worldwide e-commerce sales are predicted to reach $5.5 trillion in 2022, making online purchasing more common than ever.

According to new research from marketing software company Wunderkind, 71% of American customers planned to purchase online this Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

It has increased the chances for identity thieves, hackers, and con artists to obtain customers' financial information.

In a study done by the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants in December 2020, roughly one in five participants stated that they had been the victim of identity theft or had attempted to commit it in the previous year.

Chris Bluvshtein, a specialist in internet security, offered his top ten suggestions for being secure while shopping online over the holidays at VPNOverview.com.

Be sure to only use the websites you are familiar with

You might be tempted by a Google link that offers a fantastic price but look at the name first. Bluvshtein warned against visiting if you were unfamiliar with the area.

"Double check the site is the one you know," he advised, adding that hackers can adopt names that seem similar to High Street firms to trick people into giving them their personal information. It's advantageous to take your time and look for this information because Google also informs you of previous visits to the site.

According to Brianne Cap, director of IT Security at DeVry University, there are a lot of warning signs to look for to decide whether a website is safe or not if you do wish to shop there:

  1. The website has a dodgy or unprofessional appearance.
  2. Links are inoperable or inactive.
  3. No contact details are provided.
  4. Policies regarding returns or privacy are ambiguous or absent.
  5. Prices for goods are absurdly low.
  6. For other purposes that are unrelated to your purchase, the credit card information is required.
  7. The shipping and additional costs seem strange.

The website either contains an enormous number of unfavorable reviews or none.

8)    The website either contains an enormous number of unfavorable reviews or none.

Verify the URL bar.
the URL bar

Cap reported Devry as saying, "Make sure the website you're browsing is secure by looking for the 'lock' icon next to the web URL," in reference to online shopping.

If a website doesn't have one of them, Bluvshtein advised against entering critical information on it, including bank account information.

Look over your bank records.

You'll be able to spot any suspicious activity early on by making it a habit to check your bank account and statements.

Keep an eye on your statements since your bank will have information on any deadlines, they have for reporting fraudulent purchases.

Small businesses claim that 2022 has already been busier than the previous holiday season.

SHOP UNTIL YOU DROP: Use these simple ways to navigate Black Friday like a pro and find deals.

Implement a password manager.

Using a different, randomized password for each of your accounts is the safest course of action.

However, Bluvshtein advised using a password manager to keep them all in one place rather than writing them down on post-it notes or in notebooks.

In order to protect you from keylogger attacks, he said, password managers "lock your information behind a master password, and many of them autofill the website logins for you."

This advice was backed by the National Cybersecurity Alliance, which also suggests turning on multi-factor authentication whenever practical.

According to the alliance's online shopping advice sheet, "(multi-factor authentication) will fortify your online accounts by enabling the strongest authentication tools available, such as biometrics or a unique one-time code sent to your phone or mobile device."

Avoid shopping on public Wi-Fi.

While enjoying a cup of coffee at your neighborhood café, you might be tempted to get onto your favorite shopping website, but Bluvshtein warned that doing so on a public Wi-Fi connection is exceedingly risky.

Public Wi-Fi rarely has security measures like passwords in place, so hackers can ride along and steal sensitive information and unsecured banking details without your knowledge.

WHAT TO KNOW: This holiday season, avoid using shop credit cards. Why they could wind up costing you more is explained here.

Utilize m-payments

It's advisable to use an app like Apple Pay or Google Pay instead of your debit card if a website permits them because they can protect your banking information.

Or use a credit card.

Experts recommended against using a debit card to pay for anything expensive.

This is so that credit cards have more robust safeguards against fraud than debit cards do.

Open a temporary checking account

You can manage the amount of money you can access through transfers from your primary account by opening an online-only bank account.

In this manner, Bluvshtein explained, even if your information is stolen, the hacker won't be able to access your actual bank account.

IS BLACK FRIDAY BETTER THAN CYBER MONDAY FOR DEALS? How to maximize your savings this holiday season

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Use a VPN

Your data is shielded from prying eyes with a VPN. Even if a hacker can see you on a network, they won't be able to access your confidential information because everything you communicate is encrypted.

When used in conjunction with any of our other security recommendations, a VPN can make your online shopping extremely secure, according to Bluvshtein.

Courtesy USA TODAY

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