‘Tis The Season To Be Careful!

The holidays are a jolly time, aren’t they? Everyone seems a little nicer, and a little more friendly with the spirit of giving in the air. Too bad this jolliness even extends to cyber-criminals. Why? Because they know that with more online shopping and gift giving going on, their chances of successfully scamming someone are increased. Sad, but true.

Can you imagine the havoc The Grinch could have wrought on all the Who’s down in Whoville if he had the internet at his disposal? Frightening. Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself from his ilk, who are intent on making themselves merry at your expense. Here are five tips that will make your internet shopping experience a safe one this holiday season:

1. Whenever you buy something online, never forget to double-check that the URL starts with “HTTPS” as opposed to just “HTTP” – the “S” stands for secure. Also, you can look to see if the address has a gold padlock icon next to it, indicating that it’s secure.

2. Check to see whether your security software is up to date. If it isn’t, upgrade immediately. Kasperky, Norton, and McAffee all offer great protection and can almost always be purchased with a discount.

3. Be aware that eBay is one of most commonly “phished” sites on the web. While they do a great job of keeping their site secure, it’s still up to you to make sure you’re not getting scammed in an auction. Use their payment methods and don’t pay the seller directly or share personal information with them.

4. Never click on links or open attachments in unsolicited emails, no matter what they’re offering, or how great the deal is. If something sounds too good to be true, it’s probably bad.

5. Be diligent about checking your bank and credit card statements to make sure all charges are legitimate. You know what you’ve bought, so if something is on there that shouldn’t be, report it at once to head off any future fraud.

Follow these guidelines and you can help ensure that all the bad guys get for Xmas is a big, virtual stocking full of coal instead of your money. After all, they are naughty, not nice, so do what you can to make their holidays miserable.

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By: Peter

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