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posted on Monday, December 7, 2020
Online shopping has become a crucial part of life since the emergence of COVID-19. The holiday season will see just another surge in online shopping and Cybercriminals are already intensifying their attempts at stealing sensitive financial information, passwords and your purchased items. According to Lifelock, as much as 8% of consumers have already become victims of identity theft while shopping for the holidays which is why we would like to introduce our Top 3 Tips to secure your Holiday Shopping from Home.
1. Only Use Reliable Online Shopping Platforms
Financial institutions like BankORION and governmental organizations like the DMV use sophisticated security features to deter cybercriminals, but security features of online retailers vary in sophistication. We strongly encourage you to rely on online retailers’ official apps which you can downloaded through official app stores like Galaxy Apps, the App Store, Amazon App Store and Google Play. Not only are these apps more secure, but the app stores add another layer of protection by evaluating the validity and safety of apps to prevent cybercriminals from offering malicious apps in the first place.
Always double-check apps of smaller local retailers by reading (app) reviews and app security policies whenever available. The absence of either is a common red flag. We recommend heightened caution if you have not heard about the retailer, especially when the prices are too good to be true. The same applies to using their website portal if no app is available.
Be aware of suspicious emails asking for sensitive data (phishing) or promoting unknown shopping sites. Please don’t hesitate to report any attempted fraud to the Bureau of Consumer Protection’s new online platforms. Please also contact BankORION if you suspect fraudulent activity or identity theft.
2. Be Deliberate with Payment Systems and Processes
Go ahead and fill your shopping cart once you have verified the validity of the online retailer, yet remain aware of potential risks involving the payment process. Please do not save credit card information on any website or app, because data breaches and other occurrences may expose your data.
An elegant way to prevent revealing your credit card information is to use a digital wallet like Apple Pay or Google Pay. They act as an intermediate between your bank account and the retailer which adds another process protecting your data. You may compare this strategy to using prepaid debit cards. BankORION’s mobile wallet is available for your debit card.
Plus, pay attention to your bank account and bank statements to make sure no fraudulent activity takes place. BankORION is committed to helping you deter and prevent fraud with tools like eNFACT Fraud Detection, ID Theft Smart, and BankORION Alerts Powered by VISA®. Please visit our Fraud and Identity Theft website for instructions on identity theft or suspect activity.
3. Pay Attention to Your Internet Connection
Another pre-requisite for secure holiday shopping from home is to use a secure internet connection, because all information you provide during the payment process needs to make its way to the retailer. Cybercriminals have developed strategies to anonymously intercept data.
We strongly encourage you to only use your secured Wi-Fi at home as public or free Wi-Fi is vulnerable to intruders. Make sure your private Wi-Fi is protected by a strong password. The University of Illinois’s Academic Computing and Communications Center provides a free service to assess your password in mere seconds. While testing your password is critical, we recommend you do not type in the actual password, but use some version of it. You can never be careful enough! Other layers of protection are using a VPN connection and/or setting up two-factor authentication when accessing your accounts.
Finally, the holidays are a prime season for porch pirates. Make sure someone is available to receive packages in person or ship your items to shipping lockers provided by UPS, Amazon and FedEx.
The BankORION Team wishes you a safe and joyful holiday shopping season!