Nine million shoppers logged in Cyber Monday to contribute to the biggest online spending day in history. Online sales hit a new one-day high of $1.028 billion, an increase of 15.9% over last year, according to comScore Inc. data.
Since 2005, Cyber Monday purchases have grown more than 40 percent showing that more and more of us are choosing online deals and that shopping from our homes and mobile devices is easy, convenient and practical. But is it safe?
“Whenever consumers engage in any online financial transaction, they need to be conscious of the security risks and protect their digital presence,” according to Paul Smocer, president of BITS, the technology division of The Financial Services Roundtable. “Consumers who choose to benefit from the convenience of shopping from a smartphone or laptop are realizing that safe cyber practices are paramount to protecting their information and money.”
During the last quarter of the year, the duration of cyber attacks can increase as cyber criminals attempt to take advantage of peak transaction periods during the holidays. Smocer recommends using security and anti-virus software on your computer and keeping it up to date with the automatic update function as two basic steps to significantly improve online security.
For safe online holiday shopping this season, BITS recommends consumers:
- Always use virus-detection system, a firewall and spyware/malware detection software.
- Always use a pop-up ad blocker.
- Shop secure sites. Look for web addresses with “https://” or “shttp://”. Secure sites are also designated by a secured padlock icon within the browser.
- Be aware of holiday shopping scams, including clicking on deals that seem too good to be true or emails suggesting an issue with an online purchase.
- Never open a suspicious link.
- Shop online retailers you know and research sellers to ensure they are a reputable business.
- Don’t send cash or wire money when buying gifts online.
- Never email your credit card or checking account number.
- Monitor your financial accounts frequently for fraudulent activity.
To learn about holiday scams to watch for, visit McAfee Warns Consumers of the “Twelve Scams of Christmas”
For more safe computing tips, visit staysafeonline.org to learn how to keep a clean machine, conduct transactions safely on a computer and mobile device, protect your digital self and contribute to a stronger digital infrastructure.