Tuesday, November 30, 2021/Categories: Community News, Bank News
The old adage “if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is,” is a perfect reminder as we launch full steam ahead into the holiday shopping season. Chances are, you’ve been receiving “Early Black Friday” deals in your inbox since October. With COVID still affecting much of the country in 2021, it isn’t surprising that online retailers (and their shipping counterparts) are gearing up for a busy holiday shopping season. Most of us have come to accept the ease and convenience of shopping online ahead of the holidays, but it’s important to remember that there are still threats looming when it comes to online shopping and safety and security. We’ll review some security basics to help keep your identity and your bank account safe in the coming weeks and beyond as we trek through the busy holiday shopping season.
Passwords are Your First Line of Defense
A large percentage of breaches of information each year happen because of weak and compromised credentials. We get it—it seems like we add a new password to our arsenal every day. How are we supposed to come up with new and complex passwords for every account we open? And how do we update them to keep them secure? One way to keep passwords both secure and easily accessible would be to use a password manager like LastPass. Free to start (with paid upgrades), LastPass will assist in creating secure passwords, updating them periodically, and keeping them all secure behind a single password—the only one you’ll have to remember.
Be On the Lookout for Holiday Phishing Emails
A common and popular technique among cybercriminals this time of year is to send enticing holiday shopping phishing emails. A phishing email looks like a legitimate email from your favorite retailer. Perhaps it contains a coupon or deal that requires a “click” to download or to visit a site. The links contained in a phishing email often take the shopper to a carefully constructed site set up to impersonate a legitimate retailer, but when you enter personal information like a credit card number, you’re actually handing it over to a cybercriminal.
To avoid being scammed, take your time reading emails and make sure they are from legitimate senders. Watch for look-a-like domains with minor changes. Hover over links to view the full web address being offered before you click, and make sure you recognize it. Better yet, search for it in Google to ensure it’s actually the website you think it is. If a promotion is legitimate, it should show up on your favorite retailer’s website. Most phishing email fraud can be avoided by pausing before you click, and carefully reading the contents of the email to examine it for misleading information. Follow Andover Bank online where we'll keep you updated on the latest phishing email scams.
Additional Security Steps
There are a few additional tips to follow when shopping online this holiday season. Make sure your internet connection is secure and don’t shop or donate online when using an unsecured public wi-fi—you may be exposing your information. Always monitor your bank accounts. Check your balances and expenses on debit and credit cards accounts periodically, especially throughout the holiday season to watch for suspicious activity. Finally, keep checking in on new and trending scams by visiting FTC.gov for new information. Happy shopping!