As bargain hunters take to the Web this Cyber Monday in search of holiday deals, the Stop.Think.Connect.™ Campaign reminds online shoppers to be wary of the cybersecurity risks of theft, fraud and abuse. While many businesses offer great deals during the holiday season, cyber criminals may try to take advantage of unsuspecting online shoppers.
Follow these simple steps to protect yourself and your personal information online – and remember: If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- Pay close attention to website URLs. Pay attention to the URLs of websites you visit. Malicious websites sometimes use a variation in common spelling or a different domain (for example, .com instead of .net) to deceive unsuspecting computer users.
- Protect your $$: When banking and shopping, check to be sure the site is security enabled. Look for web addresses with "https://" or "shttp://", which means the site takes extra measures to help secure your information. "Http://" is not secure.
- Use a credit card - There are laws to limit your liability for fraudulent credit card charges, and you may not have the same level of protection when using your debit card.
- Check your statements - Keep a record of your purchases and copies of confirmation pages, and compare them to your bank statements. If there is a discrepancy, report it immediately.
- As always, keep your operating system, browser, anti-virus and other critical software up to date. Security updates and patches are available for free from major companies.
Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility and each of us has a role to play. For more basic tips to stay safe while shopping online, visit www.dhs.gov/files/cybersecurity.shtm.