With more and more people over the age of 15 purchasing online, it’s clear millennials are very comfortable with the digital age. However, contrary to widespread belief and despite their tech-savvy upbringing, a recent study by Get Safe Online found that over 1 in 10 millennials fell victim to cyber security scams, compared to 1 in 20 boomers.
Whether you’re a millennial or not, shopping online allows you to avoid crowded malls and parking lots and is an incredible comfort and convenience, but that comfort and convenience must come with caution.
Here are some simple tips that will keep you cyber safe this holiday shopping season regardless of your age group:
Know you are way more valuable than you think.
According to the Economic Times, nearly 25% of millennials surveyed thought they weren’t interesting enough to be targeted by cyber criminals. Even if you have no money in your bank account, your identity is valuable to a criminal. With your identity, loans can be taken out in your name, and crimes can be committed. Be careful who you trust online because everyone is of interest to a cyber criminal.
Don’t take the phishing bait.
Phishing attacks are when a hacker sends you an email disguised as a friendly message with a reason to click on a link, like some sort of discount for a holiday sale. The email looks good, the link looks good. The problem is if it’s a hacker sending this to you, the link is designed with malicious intent and could very well be used to steal your data. It’s always best to open a separate online search tab and find what you are looking for through your own search without clicking the link directly.
Read through your credit card bills.
This one may seem a bit tedious, but it’s actually very simple. Look for anything you don’t recognize, any charge no matter how small, can mean your card has been compromised and may continue to be falsely charged. Cyber criminals love to be able to get away with stealing $20 or $30 a month in the hopes that you won’t notice. You need to call the credit card company immediately to report the charges you don’t recognize and cancel your card.
Take your time with a URL.
During the holiday season, it’s easy to get caught in the rush of a hectic schedule and when we type in a URL, it’s not uncommon for us to make a spelling error. Hackers know we make these mistakes and have registered multiple websites that are only slightly different than the very one you could be looking for. Once you get to these fake sites, they are designed to look exactly like the ones you are looking for so they can trick you into taking your money and data. Always take the time to be careful and make sure the landing page you’re on is the one you intended to land on.
Watch for those dangerous Wi-Fi connections.
Not unlike dangerous websites, corrupt Wi-Fi connections are very popular among cyber criminals and they’re designed to steal your data. The best way to avoid these criminal Wi-Fi connections is to not assume any network that shows up on your device is legitimate. Instead, when in a public place, look for signs with the location’s Wi-Fi network name or ask an employee for the information, then be sure to use that exact network.
And of course once you log on to a legitimate network, remember that it doesn’t mean you are safe just yet. Public Wi-Fi is not secure. Hackers love to view the traffic moving through the cyber air of a public place, looking to steal login credentials and other such password information. It’s best to wait until you get home before using websites that require entering sensitive information like your bank or credit card information.
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