Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Holiday Shopping and Cyber Safety: What you need to know

The holiday season is nearly upon us, and with that, so is the shopping season. With news daily about cyber security hacks being on the rise, how can you protect yourself while you're shopping? #TEEX Cyber Security's Catherine Gibson has some helpful information we can all use.

Remember, how we shop has changed. We've got several options now that include:

  • Shopping at the store.
  • Shopping online with delivery to the store.
  • Shopping online directly.

Stay safe with each method by starting out your shopping the right way.

  • Make sure your anti-virus and Malware are up-to-date.
  • Think about using a digital wallet or safe charge feature.
  • Choose one method and stick with it.
    • Credit Card - EXCELLENT
    • Gift card through Credit Card Company or Bank - GOOD
    • Debit Card - Turn off overdraft
    • Check - Least secure, avoid
  • Sign up for online email statements.
  • Check your transactions posted regularly.
  • Don't click the links, go directly to the site.

For Safer online shopping, make sure your connection is secure.

  • There is no such thing as totally safe.
  • Look for a secure connection with an https:// instead of http://.

Credit Cards are the best choice.

  • Automatic limit to liability
  • Long period to report fraud or theft - 60 days
  • The money "stolen" is not coming from your checking account - It's out in limbo with the credit card company.
  • Extra benefits like extended warranty periods.
  • Allows you to dispute broken or misrepresented goods.

And verify the safety "certifications" such as Verisign, GeoTrust, or McAfee SECURE.

What to do if you STILL get hacked.

  • As soon as you notice any charge, for any amount, on your credit card statement, REPORT IT!
  • To credit card company/bank.
  • To credit reporting agencies - All 3.
  • To FBI.
  • To local police - non-emergency if local.
  • Consider putting a permanent fraud alert on your credit reports requiring any new account requests to be verified by you.
  • Best source? Federal Trade Commission www.Consumer.FTC.

Stay safe and have a wonderful holiday season from all of us at TEEX!