How to Avoid Cyber-scams During the Holidays

Holiday shopping is probably the most exciting and daunting task everyone's looking forward to this time of the year. To avoid the terrifying long lines and overcrowded malls, most people are opting to stay at home and do their shopping online instead. While this proved to be such a convenient and faster way, cybercriminals are also taking advantage of the holiday peak season, ready to victimize eager buyers all over the globe. Having AV download can keep you protected during this time.

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How digital scammers trick shoppers into clicking

Many stores are setting up their business online, which means that there's more opportunity for scammers to come up with various money-draining fraud. Although it's true that most users have now become better at identifying spam, cybercriminals have also improved their social engineering methods. What we all need to be aware of is that many of the lures these cybercrooks use look very authentic, which they carefully tailored to emulate a typical email or message that users click every day without a second thought. Sometimes, cybercriminals would also create fake check-out pages linked to legitimate shopping sites. These pages are designed to capture credit card or other payment information.

Fortunately, there are always safety measures that we can take to counter and prevent cybercriminals from tricking us. Read through the tips we've gathered below and have a stress-free holiday shopping from now on.

Beware of suspicious links

If you encounter suspicious links, hover over them to display the true destination URL and only click through if you’re certain that they contain a legitimate site.

Be cautious of brand impersonations

Watch out for brand impersonations. This means that you shouldn't click on anything that accounts posts as it is likely an impersonation of the real retailer unless it has the blue verified checkmark. If you're unfamiliar with the retail, travel and charity sites you're visiting, search for their names with terms like "scam", "reviews" or "complaints" and look them up on evaluation and information sites.

Be wary of coupons and promotions that come from sites other than the official retailer

Discounted items and coupons can be really tempting, especially if they say that your purchase will be slashed in half but keep in mind that not everything you see is legitimate. To avoid getting conned, be sure to avail of such promotions only if you see them on the official retailer’s store or website. Additionally, make it a habit to examine gift cards at the point of purchase. If there are signs of tampering, it could mean that a thief has already accessed the card’s PIN code and can drain its value as soon as you buy and load it.

Don’t trust sites without SSL/TLS web site certificate

SSL or TLS website certificates are a standard for almost every website, especially those asking for credentials or credit card info. If the page you’re viewing doesn’t have an SSL/TLS certificate and is not encrypting your information, it’s probably not safe to trust that site.

Secure your computer and mobile devices

Ensure that your AV download is kept up-to-date on your device, whether it's a PC, Mac, or mobile device. Regularly update your OS to patch any exploitable vulnerabilities as well. Opt for an AV download, such as Comodo Internet Security (CIS), which can strongly defend against current known threats and can protect your devices from malicious programs.

Utilize two-factor authentication

Many apps and social networks can now require a code to be sent to your phone or via email when they detect a new browser or device attempting to access your account. As such, be sure that two-factor authentication feature on your apps and social media accounts is enabled when available apart from AV download. This provides another strong barrier of protection incase a malicious page tries to steal your credentials.

Protect your payment information

As much as possible, pay only using your credit card. That way, you can dispute charges and limit the damage if it turns out you were scammed. Additionally, be sure to keep an eye on your credit card balances before, during, and after the holidays. Inform your bank of any unauthorized charges even those only worth a couple of dollars, which could be a sign that your credit card was compromised.

Making yourself aware of the threats that are out there and taking the necessary precautions are some of the basics and best ways to ensure safe shopping. Don't be too easy on trusting anyone, especially if it involves you paying money.

Comodo Internet Security

Comodo Internet Security safeguards your computer and sensitive data against malicious programs and online threats. It also lets you shop online with confidence by keeping your browser safe.