Cyber Monday brings Cybercrime

Greg Edwards

Shoppers waiting in lineLong lines, chilly weather, leftover turkey sandwiches, and Black Friday go hand in hand. Black Friday shopping isn’t going away anytime soon, but Cyber Monday is challenging brick and mortar businesses.  Last year’s Cyber Monday set new record sales of $2.7 billion; Adobe is predicting an estimated 12% increase, putting this year’s expectations at nearly $3 billion.

 

Online ShoppingHackers capitalize on Cyber Monday, don’t be a part of their malicious schemes. With consumers excitedly clicking on deals and applying coupon codes they forget about the added risks.  Sixty-four percent of online retailers report an increase in cybercrime on Cyber Monday. Watch out for those “too good to be true” deceptive ads. Here are several ways to keep your Personally Identifiable Information (PII) safe this holiday season.

What can you do to avoid being hacked on Cyber Monday?

  • Avoid the Phishing ads! Did you receive an email from Target offering a 50’ flat screen TV for $60? Look closer, that is not Target, but a fake email trying to lift your information.
  • With fewer people in the office, phishing attacks are 336% more common on Thanksgiving. With that being said, be aware of what shows up in your inbox.
  • If it looks fake, it probably is. Look for spelling errors. Anyone who wants to do business with you will have a well-planned out page that doesn’t look like it was created 10 years ago or in 10 minutes.
  • Watch out for sketchy scams. With the holiday season in full swing, everyone is feeling just a little more cheery. Be skeptical of “Christmas Charities” asking for donations. Do your research first, before you decide to If you don’t, you might end up filling the Grinch’s piggybank.
  • Is the ad authentic? Black Friday ads are filling your inbox with unbeatable But is it the real deal? Be suspicious of ads re-directing you to a different website or potentially installing vicious malware. If you don’t recognize the store name, don’t click the ad. If you’re curious what your favorite store has to offer this Black Friday, check the ads on their reputable website.

What are some additional things you can you do to protect yourself this holiday season? Make your passwords complicated. Passwords should be at least eight characters long, and not contain names or words found in the dictionary.  Make sure your software is up-to-date. Nobody wants credit card theft this holiday. While stores are ready for their best sale days of the year, so are cyber criminals. 

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