Tips for Secure Shopping Online During the Holiday Season
Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving) and online shopping throughout the entire holiday season have become increasingly popular in recent years, and the trend is expected to continue this season. According to MarketLive, an e-commerce software and solutions provider, online shoppers in the U.S. are projected to spend more than $54 billion this holiday season, nearly a 17 percent increase over the $47 billion spent last year. The increase in online shopping coincides with an increase in mobile device use, and more shoppers will be using special holiday smartphone applications (apps) to find the best deals.
Before you click or tap to buy that "must have" item on your holiday list, check out these tips below to make sure you are doing everything you can to avoid becoming a victim of cyber crime:
- Secure your mobile device and computer. Be sure to keep the operating system and application software updated/patched on all of your computers and mobile devices. Be sure to check that any anti-virus/anti-spyware software installed is running and receiving automatic updates. Confirm that your firewall is enabled.
- Know and trust your online shopping merchants. Limit your online shopping to merchants you know and trust. If you have questions about a merchant, check with the Better Business Bureau or the Federal Trade Commission. Confirm the online seller's physical address and telephone number in case you have questions or problems.
- Look for "https" when making an online purchase. The "s" in "https" stands for "secure" and indicates that communication with the Web page is encrypted. If you submit your credit card information through an organization's website, be sure to look for indicators that the site is secure. Look for a padlock or key icon in the browser's status bar and be sure "https" appears in the website's address bar before making an online purchase. You should also make sure that your browser software is current and up to date.
- Password protect your mobile device and computer. It's the simplest and one of the most important steps to take to secure your mobile device and computer. If you need to create an account with the merchant, be sure to use a strong password. Use at least eight characters, with numbers, special characters, and upper and lower case letters. Adhere to the tenant "a unique password for every unique site."
- Do not respond to pop ups. When a window pops up promising you cash or gift cards for answering a question or taking a survey, close it by pressing Control + F4 for Windows and Command + W for Macs.
- Avoid scams and fraud. Don't ever give your financial information or personal information over email or text. Be aware of unsolicited communications purporting to represent stores or charities. Always think before you click on emails you receive asking for donations and contact the organization directly to verify the request. Information on many current scams can be found on the website of the Internet Crime Complaint Center, a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National White Collar Crime Center: http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx.
- Do not use public computers or public wireless for your online shopping. Public computers may contain malicious software that steals your card information when you place your order. Additionally, criminals may be intercepting traffic on public wireless networks to steal card numbers and other confidential information.
- Print your online transactions. Print or save records of your online transactions, including the product description and price, the online receipt, and the emails you send and receive from the seller. Carefully review your card statements as soon as you receive them to confirm that all charges are legitimate. Contact your card company immediately if you have unauthorized charges on your account.
What to do if you encounter problems with an online shopping site? Contact the seller or the site operator directly to resolve any issues. You may also contact the following:
Resources For More Information
For additional information about safe online shopping, please visit the following sites:
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse:
Internet Crime Complaint Center:
Android vs. iOS
Federal Trade Commission - Tips for Consumers:
Daily Deal Media - Online Shopping Expected to Rise Nearly 17% this Holiday Season:
PayPal Blog - Protect Yourself from Cyber Crime this Holiday Shopping Season:
If you have questions about the content of this newsletter or any general security-related questions, please contact Jeremiah Bristow, Director of Corporate and Information Security, at (800) 537-5427, ext. 4124, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information about tactics used by common fraudsters to take your money or your identity: Do not click on a link to any website, including fcbl.com, unless you are certain that the link is not taking you to a fraudulent website. Do not answer any email asking you for information, such as your account number, even if it appears to be from your bank or credit card company asking you to verify that information because of some problem with your account. Your bank or credit card company will never ask you to send confidential information through email because they know that email is not normally secure and your information may not be protected from use by fraudsters. Never give your confidential information to anyone who calls you on the phone because you cannot be sure if they are fraudsters. Instead, call your bank or credit card company directly by using a phone number you already have on a statement or credit card. Do not use a phone number that the email or phone call provides for you. Always be aware that there are people whose only jobs are to try to trick good people into giving them information to use to take their identity or their money from them.
We are receiving reports of phishing emails being sent from what appears to be a NetTeller email address (email@example.com with a subject line of NetTeller Watch Notice. DO NOT OPEN THIS EMAIL. PERMANENTLY DELETE IT
We are receiving reports of a texting scam in our area. While First Citizens Bank does not use EPPICard or any of its services we would like to pass this important notice along to you:
Please be aware that there are current reports of phishing emails, phone text messages, and vishing phone calls, intended to obtain personal and/or card information. Phishing and vishing is a type of scam designed to steal your personal information. We will never request your personal information such as social security number, card number or PIN through any of these methods. Please do not respond to requests like these. Being informed is your best defense. See the Protect Yourself link for ways of avoiding identity theft. If you believe your card account has been compromised, please call the number on the back of the card.
TO REPORT A LOST OR STOLEN DEBIT CARD CALL: 1-800-383-8000