‘Tis the season to be wary! If history is any indication, this holiday season will likely feature at least one retail data breach. Increased online shopping, and a high volume of transactions, attract cyber criminals who are on the prowl for sensitive user information. And they aren’t just hacking individuals. Businesses are also vulnerable and, like consumers, must keep a vigilant eye over their data.

Here Are Seven Ways to Strengthen Your Cybersecurity for Holiday Shopping Online:

1. Check credit and debit card statements routinely, verifying all activity.

2. Protect credit and debit card numbers from “wandering eyes.”

  • One way to do so is through a third-party payment vendor that protects the primary funding source. Common vendors include Venmo, Google Wallet, Paypal, and Amazon Payments. In the event that these services are compromised, only the transaction will be affected. The credit and debit cards, or account info, remains protected.
  • Set up “push” rather than “pull” payments. When paying for a service, the linked funding source will “push” a payment to a vendor, rather than having the vendor “pull” funds from the account. This gives you greater control when transferring funds, and alerts you to any potentially fraudulent activity.

3. Be cautious of your inbox.

  • Be aware of e-mails with pictures in attached files, as they may contain malware.
  • Only open attachments from known senders, and scan for viruses if possible.
  • Do not click on unknown links, and do not respond to unsolicited e-mails.

4. Avoid filling out e-mail message forms that ask for personal information.

5. Beware of SMS phishing, even from brand names you think you’re subscribed to – they could be fraudulent. (Related content: 5 Ways to Avoid SMS Phishing)

6. When logging on, use a host’s official website, rather than potentially compromised e-mail links.

  • If you receive an e-mail from your bank, credit card issuer, or other company you deal with frequently, cross check that their contact information is legitimate.
  • Verify any requests for personal information by contacting them through the information on their official website.
  • If you are requested to act quickly, or there is an emergency, it may be a scam. Fraudsters rely on knee-jerk reactions, by creating a sense of urgency.

7. Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Don’t want to leave your security to chance? Our experts can help. Reach out for a free consultation today – and start the holiday season off right!