By: Jillian Stella, November 26, 2017 (13:43 PM)

Five Tips to Stay Secure and Avoid the Grinch Scams of Cyber Monday

The holidays are here and with them come continuous airs of the Grinch who stole Christmas!

And in our case – the Cyber Monday scammer who stole your online shopping gifts.

As an innocent online consumer, you are at a high risk for navigating to a scammers ad, ghost website or holiday phishing email.

Here are some tips to help you avoid such evilness:

If something seems phishy, don’t click it.

One of the easiest ways for a scammer to latch onto you is through an email declaring “70% site-wide and free shipping!” If this is really the deal of your favorite retail store, you can navigate to the site and validate it for yourself.

Another tip is to stay within the boundaries of trusted sites in which you’ve ordered and successfully received orders from in the past.

https:// NOT http://

In addition to steering to the companies’ site, ensure that before purchasing you can see an “https://” rather than an “http://” in the URL. The “s” at the end dictates that the webpage is secure. A page lacking the “s” usually indicates a fake site.

Look, I know it says those UGG boots are $50 below the rest of the market price but it’s probably not worth getting your credit card stolen (and not receiving anything).

If you are an avid Google chrome user, you’re already provided a safe-zone indicator which displays as a green key-lock icon followed by the word ‘Secure’ at the top of your webpage.

Good password hygiene

Most companies will prompt you to create an account with their site. And most consumers will reuse the same insecure password as there’s so many to remember.

Don’t fall into this pit because if one of your accounts is stolen, the rest may very well be since you were far too indolent to use anything but “spot123”.

Go patch yourself

 Your Anti-Virus should be detecting all malicious activity and sites before you do. If not, ensure that your software is up-to-date with all of its needed security patches.

Such updates will fix issues or vulnerabilities found that a scammer may use to compromise your system.

Plastic payments only please.

And when you do finally decide to buy that item you really didn’t need for yourself, use your credit card. At least this way, when you don’t receive your Xbox One in the mail, you can dispute the item on your card bill.

Credit card providers are familiar with fraud and will more than likely get you your money back.

Jillian Stella

Jillian Stella is a recent graduate from the University at Albany where she obtained a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Digital Forensics. Jillian is a Security Analyst and Researcher at Cursive Security where she works with and performs assessment and response services for clients. She is currently conducting research in the area of cyber threat intelligence.

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