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Cyber Monday is the busiest 24-hour period for online retailers. While consumers are jumping at the sales, they must also ensure they are properly protecting their identities and data from a breach. Because Cyber Monday is such a major event for online buying, fraudsters, hackers and other threats also become more active around this time of the year.

A few simple steps can help you shop safely on Cyber Monday:

Verifying websites and emails
Digital Guardian, a website devoted to online matters, urges consumers to be especially careful when receiving emails, social media messages or other notifications for major deals and sales as they could be from scammers. False websites and malicious links will be far more to wade through than normal on Cyber Monday. Make sure websites are authentic, and that you do not click on a link in a phishing email.

Payment methods
The Federal Trade Commission, the government entity devoted to consumer affairs and trade regulation, states that consumers will generally be safer if they use credit cards rather than debit cards on Cyber Monday. According to the FTC, credit cards almost always have a more robust range of protections than debit accounts. If you do plug that information into a fraudulent website, or a real retailer is breached, you will generally face fewer losses and headaches if you use a credit card. If you want to go a step further, Webroot, a security software provider, recommends using secured accounts to finalize payments, such as pre-paid cards and PayPal services.

Passwords and authentication
Forbes, a business publication, suggests never using the same password for two or more websites, and always leveraging two-step authentication tools when possible. Both of these best practices of identity and access management can go a long way toward preventing any type of exposure of your sensitive bank accounts and personal information on a daily basis but should be especially prioritized for Cyber Monday.

Monitor after the holidays
In many instances, breaches and fraud will not begin to show up for weeks or months after the initial exposure occurred. As such, Forbes also recommends consumers keep a close eye on their credit reports following the holiday season, regardless of whether one of the retailers they shopped at experienced a breach or not.

Enjoy your holiday weekend and shop smart!


Photo and article courtesy of Selective Insurance Group
Posted 11:00 AM

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