With an increasing number of consumers shopping online amid the COVID-19 pandemic comes an increasing number of online security threats that consumers need to be on the lookout for. In fact, experts say that there’s an entire host of online thieves working behind the scenes attempting to hack consumers’ credit cards, bank account information and social security numbers. This hacking has become somewhat of a business in and of itself amid these trying times as Americans are now doing just about everything online – from shopping to school.
While fraudsters tend to try to stay a step ahead of the experts when it comes to digital theft, the good news is that there are still some signs to be on the lookout for. We’ve compiled some of the latest threats to your online security – and the signs to watch out for – in this post. Here’s a closer look:
Watch for ‘Content Abuse’
Content abuse, or the practice of using fraudulent online content to mimic legitimate content so you’re enticed to share personal information, is a growing trend. Content abuse can take place on websites, social media, on message boards, and even on job boards. It’s these content abusers that often work together in networks, mimicking brands that you know and trust with the goal of eventually snagging your credit card information. Remember, if something seems too good to be true or seems a little off, don’t proceed on the webpage and definitely don’t enter your credit card information.
Watch for Strange Domain Names
One of the easiest ways to tell if something is a little bit off is to check the domain name, especially if you’ve received an email from a company or individual. Credible domain names almost always end in “.com” or “.org.” You can also use a free tool like “Whois.com” to check the validity of a website.
Call the Business
With more and more businesses moving to online ordering, home delivery or curbside pickup to help sales amid times of less consumer activity in their physical locations, it’s common to ask for a form of payment when you make the online transaction. If you’re concerned about providing your credit card over the Internet, then we suggest you don’t. It’s typically safer to contact the business by phone to place your order and provide a method of payment.
Use Your Credit Card
We strongly suggest you use your credit card when buying online rather than a debit card. That’s because fraudulent charges are much easier to dispute, since you haven’t already technically spent the money. If your debit card is hacked, for instance, money is withdrawn from your account and it can take longer to get that sum back. Keep an eye on your credit card and immediately dispute any charges that you did not make with your bank.