Last year, Americans spent nearly $3 billion on Cyber Monday and this year is shaping up to be even bigger. While customers are looking forward to scoring great deals, cyber criminals are preparing for a busy season of email phishing scams and identity theft.
Here are a few tips to help you avoid a Cyber Monday scam:
Update your security software. Before you shop, take the time to beef up your computer’s security. You should utilize firewall and antivirus software, and make sure all available security patches have been installed.
Beware of email scams and phishing links. Hackers send mass emails with fake advertisements and when users click the attached URLs, they are sent to phishing sites, which go up as much as 336% around Thanksgiving.
Avoid deals that are too good to be true. Don’t click on any of the “crazy deals” that you see on social media. Just like email scams, most of the deals that look too good to be true, usually are. Scammers often use Twitter and Facebook to spread malicious links, in fact, 30 million malicious tweets are sent daily.
Stick to familiar websites. While looking for the best deals, avoid shopping on unfamiliar websites. Criminals create fake websites that look legitimate with URLs that are very similar to popular sites and if you enter your credit card information into one of these sites, it could easily be stolen.
Look for the green lock. If you find a great deal on an unfamiliar website, look for the green lock on your browser and do some research about the site before purchasing anything. For extra security, use a two-step authentication process whenever possible.
Use a digital wallet. If the retailer offers the option, always use digital wallets like PayPal and Apple Pay to prevent malicious websites from receiving your credit card information. If using a digital wallet is not an option, use a credit card instead of a debit card and keep an eye on your bank statements after the holidays to look out for fraud.
Business owners should also be on the lookout for attacks during the shopping season. 64% of organizations report an increase in cybercrime on Cyber Monday. With retailers offering such great deals without the hassle of long lines, many employees will be tempted to shop at work.
Take the time to educate your employees about the tips above because if one employee accesses a malicious website on your network, all your business information could be at risk. American businesses have lost more than $740 million to phishing scams. WatchGuard customers are able to block employees from engaging in risky online shopping with WebBlocker. If you choose not the block websites, our UTM will protect you from many attacks.