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4 Online Shopping Mistakes That May Empty Your Bank Account

pos-malware-protection-sensorstechAre you the type of person that prefers to do their shopping online? Just before the winter holidays, online shopping is the savior for many of us who don’t have enough time to go to actual shopping. If you recognize yourself in this scenario, read with caution.

Knowing that thousands of people will intensively use online shopping services, cyber crooks have prepared themselves. The question is – are you ready to fight them back?

Right now the Internet is full of scams and banking malware of all kinds and forms. That is why it is extremely important to be cautious, well-informed and protected. In order to fix your mistakes, first you need to identify them. We are giving you the most common gaffes from security perspective users make while on gift purchasing duties.

Active Online Scams to Keep Away from:
Amazon Offers 50% Off Coupon Scam

Mistake 1: Shopping from Insecure or Relatively Unknown Websites

There are many online retailers. However, not all of them are worth your time or money. The first thing to do when you plan to shop from a relatively unknown or new website is check the website’s security and reputation. Look at its URL – is it HTTPS? Also, make sure to research it online and see what others think about it. One way to gather opinions is by posting on forums, social media or Yahoo Answers. You will get an answer within few minutes and clear out your suspicions.

Why is this a mistake?

If a website is employed by cyber crooks or simply has a shady online reputation, your banking credentials and personal information may be exploited. You have definitely heard of identity theft or emptied bank accounts. Never type in your credit card number or regular email address, if you haven’t checked the retailer first.

Mistake 2: Using a Debit Card Instead of a Credit

Do you read cyber security news? If you do, then you know that data breaches happen every day. Even retailers such as Home Depot and TJX have suffered data breaches, and as a result millions of customers have suffered fraudulent transactions.

Why is this a mistake?
In that sense, credit cards are considered more secure for online transactions than debit. Credit cards also offer better user protection against unauthorized activities.

A small financial tip: Even if you use a credit card, don’t do it like the end of the world is tomorrow. Financial experts would advise you to pay off the balance on a monthly basis so that financial charges are avoided.

Mistake 3: Using a Public Wi-Fi Connection

You’re drinking your coffee at your favorite place and you’re thinking of doing something good while enjoying yourself… Not a good idea. Using public wi-fi connections is never recommended, especially when you plan to use your banking information.

Why is this a mistake?

Kaspersky researchers have perfectly outlined the risks of using public and free wireless:

The biggest threat to free WiFi security is the ability for the hacker to position himself between you and the connection point. So instead of talking directly with the hotspot, you’re sending your information to the hacker, who then relays it on.
While working in this setup, the hacker has access to every piece of information you’re sending out on the Internet: important emails, credit card information and even security credentials to your business network. Once the hacker has that information, he can — at his leisure — access your systems as if he were you.

Mistake 4: Not Having an Active Anti-Virus Protection

This may seem banal to you, but if you haven’t updated your AV program recently, you may be prone to security issues varying from mild to severe.

Why is this a mistake?
Worst case scenario is you have a Trojan in your system. There are many different types of Trojans and some of them are particularly designed to harvest banking information. Moreover, some Trojans even have keylogging capabilities, meaning that all of your login credentials are now owned by crooks. Not to forget PoS (point-of-sale) malware which seems to proliferate this time around the year.

Read More about Banking and PoS Malware:

Types of Christmas Malware
Telax 4.7 Banking Trojan Operations

Let’s say it this way: if you don’t have an active protection on your computer, you better stay offline.

Final Words: Improve Your Online Security

Besides avoiding the common mistakes described above, there are several other tips to follow in order to be safer while being online:

  • Apply online access to your credit card via the credit card’s issuer page.
  • Make sure to check regularly your credit statement and verify your transactions.
  • Look for suspicious $1 charges – crooks would check if your card works by making such ‘donations’.
  • If a suspicious transaction is present in your bank card statement, contact your bank immediately. Fraudulent charges may be reversed, and your account would be frozen to keep crook activities from continuing.
  • In case of a security breach in a company you are a customer of, be extra cautious. Your credentials and balance may not be hurt, but this is not a guarantee for your future safety. Contact your bank for advice. Also, keep in mind that cyber criminals may hold on to a stolen credit card number. The 16-digit credit card number is often sold on the black market.
  • Be smart and protect your personal information:
    • – Address;

      – Social security number;

      – Date of birth;

      – PIN codes;

      – Banking credentials;

      – Website logins;

      – Web searches.

  • Sustain a powerful anti-malware tool. Sometimes several tools for user protection can be applied to decrease the possibility of an attack to the minimum. Also, improve your browser’s settings and browsing habits.
  • Avoid using the ‘remember password’ option. Instead, keep all your logins and credentials offline, and change them frequently. Use stronger passwords – combinations of numbers and upper case letters, symbols etc.

Spy Hunter scanner will only detect the threat. If you want the threat to be automatically removed, you need to purchase the full version of the anti-malware tool.Find Out More About SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool / How to Uninstall SpyHunter

Milena Dimitrova

An inspired writer and content manager who has been with SensorsTechForum since the project started. A professional with 10+ years of experience in creating engaging content. Focused on user privacy and malware development, she strongly believes in a world where cybersecurity plays a central role. If common sense makes no sense, she will be there to take notes. Those notes may later turn into articles! Follow Milena @Milenyim

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