Tips for safe Cyber Monday shopping (or really any day)

Shop from a secure computer

A computer or Android phone that isn’t protected by antivirus software is more likely to be compromised by malware. Otherwise, all data entered into or transmitted from that phone or computer is at risk, including all forms of personally identifiable information, credit card numbers, and bank accounts. Be sure to keep the operating system and all internet-facing apps updated to the latest software versions.

Search for deals on retailer sites, not on search engines

Scammers “poison” search results with malicious or deceptive links. Searching for the best iPad deals? Run a search on the Best Buy, Amazon, or GameStop sites rather than on Google.

Use trusted vendors

Any website can be attacked by hackers, but limiting your shopping to established and trusted vendors limits your exposure. Bookmark the most trusted online retail sites to make sure you don’t get redirected to fakes.

Check each website’s URL

This may seem obvious, but you’ll want to check each retail website’s address, aka URL. Scammers who want to steal your credit card number or personal information will “clone” well-known shopping sites and park them at web addresses that are often just one mistyped letter away from the real thing.

Don’t fall for ‘too-good-to-be-true’ deals

Cyber Monday features a lot of incredible, legitimate deals offered by trusted mainstream retailers. But cybercriminals will prey on shoppers’ desire for the lowest prices and will try to slip in a lot of fake deals.

Watch out especially for emails, text messages, pop-up browser windows, and Facebook and Twitter posts promising fantastic savings. Clicking on links in the messages or posts could lead to scams, phishing sites, or sites distributing malware. And don’t open attachments in emails promising fantastic deals.

Plan ahead and don’t be rushed

Cyberattacks take but a split second to occur. Sometimes all that’s required is clicking on a link in an email. Look for clues to malicious links, such as an extra “.cc” at the end of what would otherwise be a trusted domain name. Take the time to make sure you’re on the correct website.

Review credit-card and bank statements regularly during the shopping season

Malware can infect credit-card readers in stores, and unscrupulous cashiers often steal card numbers as well. If you find a transaction that doesn’t match your purchases, your account may have been compromised. If so, contact your bank, credit union or card issuer.

Don’t use debit cards online

You’ve got far less protection against fraud on a debit card than you do with a credit card. Stick to credit cards when shopping online. If you absolutely must use a debit card, use the prepaid kind with a set spending limit.

Yes, Green Country can issue pre-paid cards. Give us a call, we’ll get you set up (918) 245-1301.

Use unique passwords and login information for every site you visit

Yes, it’s a pain to remember all those passwords. But if one of them is stolen, a cyber crook will try using it on other websites. Passwords should be as long as possible and contain a mix of upper- and lower-case characters, numbers, punctuation, and symbols — and passwords shouldn’t be reused, especially for any website that handles your money.

If you’re shopping from a tablet or smartphone on Cyber Monday, use a trusted vendor’s app, not a web browser

Vendors have more control over their own apps than they do over mobile browsers, which often don’t display the web addresses of the sites to which you’re giving your credit card information.