Excited for Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Millions of Americans are, too, including fellow shoppers, retailers, and—unfortunately—cybercriminals. In fact, cyberattacks on shoppers can increase by as much as 57% on Cyber Monday. To shop safely this holiday, our cyber security expert, Ron Culler, Senior Director, Technology and Solutions for ADT Cybersecurity shares some helpful tips:

#1: Be wary of the WiFi

If you’re online shopping in a coffee shop or airport, be careful with public WiFi networks, as bad actors might be lurking. In a survey conducted by the Identity Theft Resource Center, 53% of respondents reported that they used public WiFi at least once a week, yet only 27% said they use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). While a VPN gives you an implied level of online privacy and anonymity by creating a private network from your device to the VPN provider’s public internet connection, it’s still your responsibility to ensure your online shopping is done with reputable companies. Remember: if you’re going to use a personal VPN service, the security is from your device to their public internet connection and not your online shopping site.

#2: Monitor, monitor, monitor

Make a habit of checking your credit card and bank account activity during holiday shopping. It’s already second nature to hide the gifts you’re buying from their intended recipients; make it your goal to develop an equally strong reflex to double-check your financial security. If you see any suspicious transactions, flag them with your bank immediately.

#3: Password precautions

In a perfect world, we would always take the time to review organizations’ privacy statements, terms of use and user agreements—but let’s be honest, most people don’t. Most people scroll and click accept without reading the fine print. The reality is, corporate cyber-breaches are a fact of life; to minimize the potential damage from one of your online vendors being hacked in the future, remember to create different passwords for every app and website you use—and change them regularly. Sound overwhelming? Password-manager apps are there to help.

#4: Ditch the debit

This is an easy one: avoid using debit cards for online shopping, since they’re directly tied to your bank account. Most credit cards also offer the benefit of stronger guarantees of reimbursement if anything shady happens.

#5: Block those ads—and browse privately

Not only are they irritating, but online ads are also a vector of attack for hackers. Employing an ad blocker can go a long way toward preventing intrusions. Similarly, simply using a private browser window minimizes the accessibility of your online “footprint” and makes you harder to identify—both to potential hackers and online stores which might even charge you more if they know you’re a repeat visitor!

#6: Call in reinforcements

It’s the most wonderful time of the year—as long as you aren’t stressing about cybersecurity. Outsource your identity-theft defense to the experts! ADT provides 24/7 monitoring of the dark web and other online realms where your personal information might come up for sale. We also offer 24/7 fraud incident resolution; annual credit reports; and public, courts and criminal records monitoring. There’s no need to try to fight cybercriminals alone—let us help.

Check out all our identity-theft prevention services here—and happy shopping!

ADT News and Tips