Ways to protect yourself from online scammers this holiday shopping season

Online scammers are using everything from emails to phone calls to rake in big bucks at your expense.

MINNEAPOLIS — You’ve probably already clicked your way through a number of pre-Black Friday deals, which health experts say is the safest way to shop this holiday season do to COVID-19. 

However, with that comes the opportunity for online scammers to rake in big bucks at your expense. They’re using everything from emails to phone calls. 

“False advertising links that you click on, or I’m calling from UPS, I have a delivery to make but there’s $300 that’s owed on the shipping, can I get a credit card number,” described Mark Lanterman, Chief Tech Officer, with Computer Forensic Services in Minneapolis. 

More than 2 billion people this time last year fell victim to online scams, according to computer security giant McAfee, which is why cybersecurity experts are urging you to use good judgement when shopping.

“Take responsibility for your own security, make sure that you are reviewing your credit card statements on a regular basis,” said Lanterman. 

Experts recommend limiting the number of times you manually enter your credit card info, and instead try to rely on websites and apps where your information is already stored. 

Also, be sure to read the company’s privacy policy so you know how your information will be used. 

As for debit versus credit?

“Leave your debit card in the drawer,” advises Lanterman. “If I’m a hacker and if I steal your debit card that’s your money and your account is going to be tied up for weeks.” He went on to say, “if I steal your credit card, that’s the banks money, who cares, that’s their problem.”

So when clicking away at deals seemingly too good to be true, stay vigilant and skeptical while keeping safe this holiday season.

“It’s easier to hack a human than it is to hack the technology,” said Lanterman. 

For more ways to shop safely this holiday season, visit the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency website for more information. 


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