Thanksgiving is almost here—and that means that holidays are coming up fast. The shopping season is already underway, and people are already hoping and planning for great bargains on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
We’re all for getting a good deal, but we feel it incumbent upon us to remind you that these big shopping days are also filled with risk. We already gave you some helpful hints for weathering Black Friday. Now let’s turn our focus to Cyber Monday!
- Don’t be frustrated by online merchants that require you to sign in before making a purchase. That step—especially if you’ve chosen a difficult-to-guess password—helps to protect your purchase.
- Take advantage of two-factor authentication at every opportunity. Yes, that will mean that you have to not only enter a password, but also confirm your identity in another way—but again, this is for your protection.
- Avoid making online purchases on merchant websites that are unfamiliar to you.
- Be sure that the websites you’re shopping on are secure (just check that the site’s web address starts with “https” instead of “http”).
- Beware of phishing! Hackers may send you a forged email that looks authentic; it could claim to be an email from your bank or a merchant. If you click the link in a phishing email, and go on to enter your login and password on the fake site the link takes you to, you will be providing hackers with your personal data. Instead, type in the website address of the merchant or your bank.
- When making online purchases, use a credit card, rather than a debit card. Merchants and banks will be responsible for fraudulent purchases made using your credit card—but your debit card is directly linked to your checking account. If that information is obtained by a hacker, your account could be cleared out.
- Follow good password protocol. Use a different password for every site you visit (and never, ever use the same password for shopping sites and sensitive sites such as your bank).
- Ensure that your browser and your anti-virus software are up-to-date.
- Even if you have a chip card, use all these tips to protect your personal information. After all, the unique code generated by the chips in these cards, which is intended to protect your credit card from being used for fraudulent purposes, is only generated when the card is inserted into the appropriate card reader. At this point, chip cards work exactly the same way as traditional, magnetic stripe credit cards when used for online shopping.
Beall Financial and Insurance Services has been working with business-owners for more than 25 years to help them protect their most important assets, and their companies’ future. If you have questions about insurance coverage for your business, contact us.