As Cyber Monday approaches, OnPoint Community Credit Union is helping consumers stay safe while shopping online. OnPoint has released a free eBook, “The OnPoint Guide to Personal Cybersecurity,” that shares in-depth and actionable information so consumers can protect against and recover from fraud.
According to statistics published by the Pew Research Center, eight in 10 Americans are online shoppers. As online shopping and banking is on the rise, so is online fraud as cyber criminals target online shoppers. The Department of Homeland Security Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) has identified three common ways attackers target online shoppers:
- Using fake websites and emails to get shoppers to share account information: Attackers pose as legitimate retailers, or pretend to be a charity, especially during the holidays or after a natural disaster.
- Intercepting insecure transactions: If an online retailer does not use an encryption while processing payments, hackers can use this security flaw to intercept payment information.
- Targeting vulnerable computers: Consumers need to take steps to protect their computers from viruses or other malicious code, so that an attacker cannot gain access to their computer and all of the information on it.
There are simple precautions online shoppers can do to help protect against attackers and fraud. In OnPoint’s free eBook, the company shares tips for staying safe online. Here are just a few:
- Use a credit card in lieu of a debit card. If a fraudulent transaction takes place on your credit card, at least the funds won’t automatically be pulled from your checking account while you are settling the dispute. Also, protect yourself by only shopping on sites with HTTPS and a padlock icon to the left or right of the URL. The ‘s’ at the end of HTTPS stands for secure and ensures all communication between your browser and the web is encrypted.
- Be proactive and routinely check all of your financial statements and history for suspicious or questionable charges. Contact your financial institution immediately if you find unauthorized activity on your accounts.
- Don’t open attachments or click on URLs in unsolicited emails from vendors and people you don’t know. These may be phishing scams that contain links that will download malware on your computer or lure you into entering personal information. Be aware, the email may even appear to be from someone you know, but at a closer glance, it may look or sound suspicious.
- Use strong passwords, and do not use the same passwords for multiple websites. Consider increasing the complexity of passwords or use phrases, and regularly change passwords for added security. Set up two factor authentication (2FA), when possible. Additional advice regarding secure password tips is included in the free eBook.
- Most importantly, think before you click. If something seems off, it likely will require a little investigation before clicking the link or message. Resist the urge to respond to enticing subject lines that sound too good to be true. Stay alert and take protective measures to ensure online safety and security.
OnPoint is committed to helping consumers stay safe while shopping online. For actionable tips and information on avoiding cybercrime, check out OnPoint’s free personal cybersecurity guide at on their website at www.onpointcu.com.