Beat Online Scams & Phishing Attacks This Holiday Season!

This time of year is easy-pickings for cybercriminals eager to exploit the large volume of E-commerce purchases. 64% of organizations report an increase in cybercrime on Cyber Monday, and phishing links go up as much as 336% around and after Thanksgiving.


Here are 6 ways to protect against cybercriminals: 

1. Be wary of e-mails with offers “too good” to be true. 

One of the oldest methods for perpetrating online scams is embedding links in false e-mails. Perpetrators will attempt to trick you with links to unbelievable offers at well established sites, like Best Buy and Amazon. DO NOT CLICK THESE LINKS. Open your Web Browser, enter the URL to the site offering these discounts and search for the deals manually. If you can’t find the offer, it’s likely a scam.

2. Visit and shop only on the web sites you trust.

Many retailers will offer significant discounts – sometimes up to 50% or more – it is still safer to work with businesses you have purchased from before.

3. Purchase only on “S”ecure sites.

Only use your credit card on sites with SSL (secure sockets layer) security. To determine this, check to see that the URL for the page begins with ” https:// ” and not just ” http:// ”  That “s” lets you know the site is secure. Most browsers will also show a lock icon somewhere in the browser window.

4. Make your purchase with credit cards only.

Avoid non-credit or wire transfer payment methods. Many credit providers have a “zero liability” policy meaning you’re safe from the charges even if a hacker gets a hold of your credit card info. Additionally, federal laws allow you to dispute an item on your credit card bill, if you don’t receive your purchase.

5. Use different username-password combinations across multiple sites. 

Cybercriminals harvest user name and password combinations, trade this information freely and try the combinations against multiple sites until they have access to your most personal accounts. It is a few more steps to create unique username-password combinations but well worth it!

6. Create a specific email account for online shopping. 

All major e-mail services like Gmail and Yahoo allow you to create free e-mail accounts. Create an account solely for the purpose of online shopping. This will reduce SPAM to your primary account and and prevent cybercriminals from accessing and obtaining sensitive data shared there.