Consumers using online shopping have been amazed to learn that cybercrime now affects more people per hour than the number of babies born! With 50,000+ people being affected by cybercrime somehow every hour, the figure is around 3 times the 15,300 babies which are born every hour.
This is a very scary statistic and it is one to keep in mind over the holiday period when cyber crime rates are at their highest. As more and more consumers make use of computers, iPads and mobile phones to purchase gifts for friends and family, thieves are on the alert for ways to hack into systems and snatch email addresses, passwords, credit card numbers or Paypal information.
A recent survey by Verizon found that around 70% of American retailers are not yet compliant with Payment Card Industry regulations with regard to security. This means that consumers are being left particularly vulnerable to theft while online shopping.
10 Tips to Stay Safe During the Christmas Shopping
According to the FTC, a large number of scams and thefts occur during the Christmas shopping rush. However they have issued a list of 10 tips to help consumers fend off criminals this Christmas – and of course throughout the year!
- Use credit cards rather than debit cards as they offer more liability coverage.
- Use only one card for online shopping, preferably a prepaid card or a “virtual card number.”
- Secure your mobile phone if you use it for shopping. This involves backing up regularly and also enabling data encryption and antivirus features.
- Never reveal private financial data over shared wireless networks such as in coffee shops.
- Never give out credit card data over the phone unless you initiate the transaction and trust the retailer.
- Ensure your computer has the latest browser, antivirus and firewall protection installed and update it regularly.
- Never link your bank account to online services such as Paypal as it is easy for hackers to break into these accounts and drain your bank account.
- Be aware of phishing email scams which usually include links to fake deals on sites that harvest your personal details.
- Only use sites with secure checkout and leave suspicious sites immediately.
- Check bank and credit card statements frequently for unrecognized transactions.
Telemarketing Scams Are Returning To Popularity
A recent report by a leading investigative reporter has revealed that there has been a recent resurrection of the old telemarketing scams thanks to inexpensive online phone services and stolen cellphone accounts. Consumers are receiving calls from someone posing as a customer service staff member from their banks offering them a low-interest rate on a new credit card.
If consumers are taken in by the caller they may well provide criminals with sufficient information to steal their identity.
The Internet Crime Complaint Center say that there are increasing numbers of cases of telemarketing scams lately where the perpetrator impersonates credit card issuers, traffic ticket collection agencies, and even the Federal Trade Commission in order to pick up account details and personal information from individuals.
4 BBB Advice for Telemarketing Scams Victims
The Better Business Bureau has published some advice for consumers who are concerned about becoming a victim of credit card fraud and telemarketing scams.
- Contact Your Card Issuer – Federal law limits consumers’ liability for fraudulent transactions to $50, and many of the top credit cards offer zero liability to customers. However, the same protection is not extended to debit card users who could find themselves responsible for up to $500 if they do not alert the bank quickly. So it is important to report your fears as soon as possible.
- Contact The Authorities – When you file a report with the local law enforcement agency, you are protecting yourself from becoming responsible for any future fraudulent transactions. You cannot be held responsible for any changes made after you report that your card has been stolen.
- Contact Credit Reporting Bureaus – Credit Bureaus are able to stall or even block applications for new credit in your name if you let them know that your identity has been stolen. (See Cards Reporting Credit)
- Stay Vigilant – Consumers must be vigilant of their accounts and use online transaction alerts where offered. It is also important to review account statements and bills carefully for any transactions which are not expected. This is the best way to catch fraud or tampering.
Law enforcement agencies and other sources within the finance industry estimate that the average amount of money stolen in the average identity theft incident is under $100. However, it is important that individuals and banks alike continue to invest time and money in preventing these types of crimes from occurring.
16 Internet Safety Tips for Parents
- Install and use parental controls such as ContentProtect, CyberPatrol or CyberSitter, which are screening public content for inappropriate materials and providing online hosts to monitor chat rooms for more internet safety.
- Create a list of online rules and make sure your children are aware of these rules.
- Place the computer in an open area in your house with the monitor facing out.
- Make sure to check children’s behavior online periodically and let your kids know that you are interested in what they do online. Ask your children where they go and what they do online, and have them show you.
- Teach your children 1. never to give out personal information (their real name, address and/or telephone number) over the Internet, and 2. never to agree on meeting with someone person to person.
- Make the internet use whole family entertainment. Always encourage and support Internet use, but at the same time participate in new learning experiences as much as possible.
- Teach your kids to never open an email from someone they don’t know.
- Monitor kids’ time spend online and always be aware of excessive hours.
- Acquaint yourself with your kid’s online friends and email habits. Be aware of correspondence with strangers and warn your children about the potential risks.
- Always monitor your internet and telephone bills. Check out any unfamiliar numbers and services on your bill immediately.
- Never allow your children to meet with someone they meet online unless the parent approves. If a meeting is arranged, make sure to accompany your child.
- Do not install Peer-to-Peer applications on your computer.
- Never respond to “unsubscribe” on a pornographic email.
- Teach your children to avoid chat rooms.
- Share your Internet child safety experiences with others.
- Bookmark friendly sites allow your children to access mostly used and safe internet websites easily.
6 Online Shopping Security Tips from Zappos
If you are one of Zappos shoppers then you are one of 24 million customers who risk their personal information in a security foul at this famous online store.
Hackers have become successful in gaining access to users’ names, phone numbers, addresses, and the last four digits of their bank accounts as well as their credit card numbers when they attacked the company’s server in Kentucky, told by the Associated Press.
The company which is a part of Amazon, an online market giant is contacting their users and asking them to change their passwords immediately before hackers access their accounts.
There are some tips and tricks offered by Identity Theft 911 experts specifically for shoppers who shop online on Zappos or other online stores to protect their online accounts.
The Zappo’s Tips
1. Use Strong passwords. It is advised to create strong user passwords for these online retail shops and also for personal email accounts. The passwords must contain numbers, digits, upper and lower cases, and symbols.
It is better to include everything to make a strong password that is unbreakable. For example, if you use 4545, it can be easily accessed but drawing a password of #45cAts@@? is a better way to protect your profiles.
2. Use different passwords. Use different passwords for work and personal email accounts, bank accounts, and online shopping stores. The reason is that if the hacker gained access to your password in any case, he will not be able to use it for other accounts.
3. Use memory tricks to remember passwords. Use memory tricks to remember complicated and difficult passwords. For example, if you like a movie say, lords of the rings, you can make a password ‘LORDsoffda0’ this includes upper and lower caps as well as a number.
4. Avoid using personal information. Avoid using personal information, such as a birthday, mother’s maiden name, a pet’s name, or other questions on social networking sites.
5. Stay on the lookout of fake emails. Zappos shop is contacting Zappos shoppers by email. Many times an official-looking email can be sent by a hacker to get your information. So keep yourself updated with what is happening in the company on their site.
6. Go through credit reports. Check your credit reports as many times as it is possible but at least twice a year to check any signs of fraud in your accounts. (Related: Get Credit Report & Score)
If you keep the above tips and advice in mind you will reduce the chances of falling victim to cybercrime online. Remember, credit card fraud and ID theft is something no-one wants to deal with but it can be especially inconvenient at Seasons and Holidays times of the year while making online shopping.