More people are expected to online, holiday shop than ever before. Consumers are looking for safer ways to get what they need as coronavirus cases continue to rise across the country.
November and December online sales are projected to be up 33% year over year to a record $189 billion according to data from Adobe Analytics. That’s why Randy Watkins, Chief Technology Officer of cybersecurity firm CriticalStart in Plano, is warning online shoppers to protect their personal information.
“Black Friday shopping is now weeks before Thanksgiving and weeks after because of the pandemic,” Watkins said. “That means cybercriminals have even more time to find holiday shoppers to victimize.”
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Watkins said there are a few things people should keep in mind when shopping online, starting with passwords and usernames.
“Don’t use the same password throughout multiple platforms. There are two things attackers are after. Payment information and passwords. They don’t really care about the account. What they are assuming is that the user has one username and one password that they use for everything. If they get your [information] for one of those sites, then there is a good chance they can log into your [other accounts],” Watkins said.
Watkins said consumers should also be careful about links in emails.
“If you get an email from a retailer and it tells you to go to a certain page, just go directly to their page. Go to your address bar and type it in, because attackers can make a spoofed page that looks like a retailers page,” Watkins said.
He said it’s also important for people to remember the way a retailer will contact you.
“All of the major retailers have said they will not request that info via phone, text or email. If there is an issue with your payment, the retailer will tell you to go directly to their website. So be careful when you see one of those malicious emails that says there was a problem with your purchase. It may ask you to enter your credit card information [in the email link] to get that TV deal for [Black Friday or Cyber Monday]. It creates a sense of urgency behind these deals that may entice consumers to go against their better judgment."
His final piece of advice, which we have all heard before, if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.