5 Tips for staying secure while online shopping for the holidays

The holiday season is officially upon us. If you’re like me, you’ve long given up the days pushing through the crowded malls during the holiday season to find the perfect gifts for your loved ones. Online shopping has saved us the hours waiting in line and the obscene amounts of coffee needed to get through a day of sifting through presents. 

Even though online shopping is such a wonderful thing, it doesn’t come without its own risks. It seems like every year, yet another retail company is featured in the headlines for some sort of security breach. It’s important to know how to stay safe while online shopping, so you can mark off your shopping list with a little more peace of mind. 

Here are some tips we’ve outlined to help keep your personal information safe this season:

1. Be wary of public networks 

Yes, that includes anywhere from your local coffee shop to an airport. Unless you can be assured that the network is properly encrypted end-to-end, it’s a good idea to steer clear of public networks when making purchases. You never know who might be snooping on your transactions. 

 2. Use a credit card, not a debit card

If you do find fraud charges on your card, credit cards usually offer more protection and it is typically easier to get them removed. If you have cash to use instead of a card, even better! Some credit card companies, like American Express, even have incentives for you to shop with local small businesses during the holiday season.

3. Change your passwords to stores where you frequently shop.

If you’re like me, you might have a few favorite stores that you use to shop online.  If you have a saved login to any of these stores (especially with saved credit card info) it’s a good idea to change your login credentials frequently. You can also use additional monitoring services to get alerted if a website you have an account with is compromised.

4. Don’t click on email links from unknown sources.

If the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Just like election season, the holiday season brings an increased in ways for people looking to target those wanting to spend money. Before your click any link, make sure you know the sender.

5. Monitor your spending.

Always a good idea for more reasons than one. If you see a fraudulent charge take the measures necessary based on your card provider. 

Now time for the disclaimer. Even by following these tips, consumers can’t do anything about an organization’s security posture. Even the most well-known and successful retailers can be at risk of attacks. Think back to Target’s data breach back in 2013. Millions of customer’s data were exposed because of a vulnerability with a third-party vendor. No customer could have prevented this, because the duty was on the retailer.  

Luckily, MindPoint Group offers a variety of services like Penetration Testing, FedRAMP Consulting, and Baseline Modernization to keep your organization secure and compliant.

MindPoint Group aims to help organizations of all sizes by becoming a trusted cybersecurity partner and advisor to each of our customers.

Contact us to learn more

Abby Costin