July 16, 2019
EMAIL AND TECHNOLOGY
Protect Yourself From Online Retail Hacks
In recent years, online shopping has exploded — so, too, have online retail hacks. Previously, cyber criminals would tend to target merchants themselves, stealing credit card data that would net them $15-$20 per card, and which would then be used to clone a new, fraudulent card. This method was traditionally more popular than swiping individual card numbers from cyber shoppers, data that they would use to make their own online purchases — but which was only worth less than $8 per stolen card. Recently, however, the tables have turned and those individual-based scams are rising in popularity — as cybercrooks have found it more difficult to obtain those individual card numbers (thanks to new methods like security chips), demand has increased, as has the amount criminals can net for each stolen card.
So, what can you do to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of one of these online retail hacks? Practicing basic cyber safety is an important first step. A private conservative email provider can be a vital first line of defense against cyber criminals, who often attack public, insecure emails as their entrance into a victim’s most personal information. Even if you think you don’t transmit risky content in your messages, such as credit card numbers, criminals can use a person’s email to start building a profile of their online habits, which can be a building block for theft and even identity fraud.
Beyond securing a private email, another method to preventing online retail hacks is smart password protection: Use a password that is hard to guess, change it frequently and do not store passwords anywhere on your computer.
Finally, a quick way to protect yourself online is to check the URL of the web address you’re visiting. If it includes an “s” after http, that means it is a secure site through which you can safely share information on this website; if it read just as “http,” it’s best to avoid it.
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My bank offers a daily account activity summary via email and a text “fraud alert”. I am thankful for that service. If I have begun accessing my account outside my usual locale, an alert occurs.