Quick Tips for a Hack-Free Holiday

By Fortra's Digital Defense

It is fast becoming a time-honored tradition – the retail ramp-up and cyber spend-fest that comes after Thanksgiving Day. Between Black Friday deals and Cyber Monday sales, credit cards all over America will be racking up miles and interest at astounding rates.

For many folks, the days of duking it out in the brick & mortar stores have given way to competitive shopping from their couch or lounge chair.  In this way, online shopping has changed lives not only for consumers, but cyber attackers as well.

Because they know you are fired up to nab the best online deals or anxious to find the perfect gift, malicious actors are ready and waiting for you to make a careless decision in the heat of the moment. Don’t get hacked over the holidays. Be sure you are following some simple rules to protect yourself while shopping online.


Many happy returns

Find out if the seller will allow you to return the item before you purchase it. Again, this is information that can be hidden in the fine print.

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Don’t do debit

Paying with a credit card is safer than debit card, check, or cash because you can legally dispute charges for goods that you never received or ordered, or were misrepresented to you.

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Keep records

Make copies of the product description, price, and your receipt.

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Don’t overshare

Never provide sensitive information in an email to the seller, or anybody else! This includes your bank account or credit/debit account numbers as well as your social security number.

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Be anti-social

Not really, but do resist the urge to use social logins. Using your Facebook, Twitter, or other social media access to log into another site just makes it easier for attackers to hack more than one of your accounts.

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Size up the seller

Do your homework, especially if you are using a site that is new to you. Check the address, phone number, and even the Better Business Bureau to ensure the entity is trustworthy and not just a ruse to get your credit card number.

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Know the real cost

Read the fine print to uncover hidden fees as well as privacy policies that aren’t all that private. Remember, scammers assume you won’t read fine print and can sneak disclosures past you that way.

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Got warranty?

Determine if the product comes with a warranty and if the seller provides support/service before you buy.

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