Online shopping is an incredibly easy and efficient way to check things off your holiday “to do” list, and Cyber Monday is the unofficial kick off to the online shopping season with retailers offering amazing deals to complete purchases on their websites. However, like all good and easy things, online shopping can be used for bad.

Between the email blasts and social media posts offering up these AMAZING deals, it’s easy to get pulled into a hacker’s trap giving them access to your credit card and other personal information. To help keep you and your personal information safe this season, we’ve pulled together our top tips for cyber safety at home and at work:

  • Use Two-Factor Authentication

    • Most online accounts and mobile apps offer this tool. Users might be required to receive an SMS text message with a unique code in order to complete your login access. This helps to verify your identity as you have to physically have your phone (which hackers don’t have) to complete login
  • Don’t Reuse Passwords

    • Reusing the same password for all of your accounts means a hacker only needs to figure out one password to gain access to everything. They simply reenter your password across all accounts. We know passwords can be hard to remember, but mixing up the passwords, using at least 10 characters, and having a combination of numbers, letters and symbols can greatly reduce your risk of exposure.
  • Don’t Click on Email Links

    • Everyone’s excited to see 70% Off pop up in their inbox. But chances are that the offer in the retailer email, is also on their website. Instead of clicking on the link in the email, go directly to that retailer’s website to search for the deal. If the deal’s not there, its most likely that the deal was a scam to begin with.
  • Don’t Connect to Public WiFi

    • You’re in line at Starbucks browsing your emails. You see a stellar deal that you can’t pass up, so you go to the website to make the purchase. Before you enter that credit card information, make sure you’re not connected to public WiFi. Most public WiFi networks aren’t password protected – which means anyone can tap into the network and monitor your activity. Wait to complete the purchase until you’ve connected to a secured, password protected network.
  • Sign Up for Transaction Alerts

    • Nearly all financial institutions offer the ability to set up alerts on your debit and credit cards when a charge or transaction has occurred. During the holidays this can seem overwhelming as there’s A LOT of activity, but it’s worth the extra monitoring to avoid thousands of dollars in fraudulent charges later. If you see a transaction you know you didn’t make, you can immediately flag your financial institution.

While this article is focusing on Cyber Monday, these cyber security tips can be used year-round on your personal and professional online accounts.  Unfortunately, in today’s digital world online users need to be diligent about their cyber security 24/7.

Hackers don’t take breaks, and they don’t have seasons. And just because you’re not a billion-dollar company, or a millionaire doesn’t mean you’re not susceptible to an attack. Hackers look for easy wins, no matter the size of the accounts. For more information on how to protect yourself from Cyber threats, reach out to the CB Insurance team!