After the infuriating news swept over the U.S. public in September—nearly 150 million Americans had sensitive information hacked over the summer—there’s a growing concern over what that cyberattack could mean for shoppers on Cyber Monday. Can you trust online stores to handle your credit card purchases securely? How can you protect yourself from further harm when shopping on Cyber Monday? Are those deals that look too good to be true actually a scam?
Here are a few ways to safeguard your online purchases and information when the sales start rolling out this November.
Trust Trusted Vendors
Although hackers can take down any website, big online retailers like Amazon, Newegg, and eBay are usually safe bets when shopping on Cyber Monday. Sticking with reliable online vendors can reduce your exposure to hacks, fake redirects, and overall risk.
If you need a resource to find good Cyber Monday deals, bookmark these frequently updated sites:
Avoid Public Wi-Fi & 4G Networks
That free Starbucks Wi-Fi may be convenient when you need to look up the guy who played that one dude in that one movie you liked—just stay off public connections when you’re shopping online. Stick to networks you know are secure, like the one at home or work, and you may save yourself from becoming easy prey to hackers.
Don’t Click Sketchy Links
Cyber Monday is flooded with great bargains—keep an eye out for seasonal Kia Sorento deals at our Lynchburg dealership—but there are always a few bad eggs in the bunch. Most scams are spread through emails and social media sites; even your Facebook friends and Twitter followers aren’t to be trusted, as their accounts could have been compromised by hackers to lure in unsuspecting victims. An unfortunate click could lead to malware, viruses, or worse.
Change Login Information before Shopping
Don’t assume you’re safe just because your password is long and complex. After the data breach this summer, all bets are off when it comes to your security. Every existing account at an online store, such as Amazon, should be reset with a new password. And change your email passwords, too; they’re the gateway to all your other accounts.
Review Bank Statements over the Holidays
Keep an eye on your transactions all season long. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday looming, your bank is going to be busy keeping track of millions of purchases and returns, so it’s your responsibility to monitor for fraudulent activity. If you notice something amiss, contact your bank’s fraud department immediately for assistance in canceling accounts, etc.
Set Up Credit Alerts
If your credit card company or bank offers Credit Alert Protection, use it! Rather than auto-approving any purchase, the company will notify you when a charge is made that goes over the price you designate. Identity theft is not a joke.
Take Immediate Action if Fraud is Detected
In addition to contacting your bank or credit card company to close an account, you should also take the following steps to avoid further damage to your credit:
- Visit your local Consumer Protection Office. If you live in Virginia, you can find a list of offices here.
- Change all—and we mean all—of your account passwords, starting with the most important accounts (bank, mortgage, email).
- Request a free copy of your credit report to discover other signs of fraud.
- Freeze your credit with every credit reporting agency. This may even be a good idea if you’re worried about the summer data breach that likely affected every adult in America.
- Read more about consumer fraud and phishing schemes at occ.treas.gov.
- Inform any company that holds an account for you, including utility, auto loan, home mortgage, cell phone, insurance, and student loan companies. They may want to issue you a new account number.
Use a Secure Connection
Whenever making a purchase at an online vendor, be aware of the website URL before submitting your credit card number or payment information. You should see a secure “padlock” icon near the URL, which should also be encrypted using HTTPS protocol. If you don’t see the “https” or a “padlock” when completing a transaction, consider backing out and shopping somewhere else.
When applying for a car loan at Kia of Lynchburg, for instance, we use an encrypted HTTPS form to ensure your online safety. Here’s an example of what our secure auto financing URL looks like:
As has always been the case, we want you to feel entirely secure when shopping at our Lynchburg Kia dealership—both online and in person. If you need help finding a new car on Cyber Monday or over the holidays, trust in our professionals to be your guardians. We’ll help you secure a low-interest car loan on any of our new Kia models or used car for sale.
2018 Sorento – Photo: kia.com
For more details, call us at (434) 847-3292 or stop by our Lynchburg car dealership at 3400 Old Forest Road. We have a wide variety of pre-owned vehicles and new Kias for sale, including the latest 2018 Kia Sorento. Take this fantastic new SUV for a test drive around Campbell County today!
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