Online Holiday Shopping: Tips & Safety

 

The holidays are around the corner, so Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals are too! It’s not just a time for celebrating joy and togetherness, but also for increased online activity and shopping. While all the sales can be exciting (and tempting), it’s important to remember to stay safe when purchasing items for everyone on your list this season.

Scammers and hackers tend to make most of their attacks during the holidays. This year, Information Technology Services (ITS) is offering you tips to help you avoid holiday scams:

  • Update all of your devices to the latest versions of operating systems and software (including antivirus!)
  • Watch out for unsolicited emails! Cybercriminals often send emails with attachments or links in hopes to get login information or infect your computer with malware or viruses. When in doubt, delete
  • Create unique usernames and strong passwords for each site you use to make it harder for hackers to gain access. A data breach at one site can give cybercriminals entry to accounts that share usernames and passwords
  • Look for "https:" and a padlock icon in the URL while browsing to make sure the site encrypts your information to ensure safe transactions
  • Holiday deals can be great, but some may be too good to be true. Cybercriminals often send out fake deals this time of year that lead to scams, phishing sites, or malware
  • As eager as you may be, certify you are using a company’s legitimate website before entering any information. Cybercriminals create fake sites with slight variations of real company names to trick enthusiastic holiday shoppers
  • Value your personal information like you value your money that’s being used on the sales. Protect your privacy and only provide the information needed for your purchase

Wishing you a safe and happy holiday, from everyone here in ITS!

For more information on how to stay safe online, visit: https://its.gmu.edu/working-with-its/it-security-office/security-best-practices/