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Due to inflation, global shipping and delivery rates have been affected, so it’s best to get ahead of your holiday shopping. While you might consider doing your last-minute shopping online, Tokenex advises you to keep your eyes open because cybercriminals can be everywhere.

In 2021, customers in the United States who utilized online shopping spent on average around $209 billion. A big chunk of that online shopping comes from holiday spending. With the convenience of staying home and browsing on your phone or computer instead of physically going to a store, cybercriminals are strategically targeting consumers online.

There are on average 7.9 million online businesses around the world. While websites are perfectly safe, there are some you should be skeptical about. With the popularity of online shopping, many fake businesses are established and try to trick consumers into giving away their personal information. Be wary of deals that are too good to be true. If a store is offering a heavily discounted item, it might be a scam. Research the company and make sure this is a legitimate business before entering your credit card information.

Five Tips to Keep you Safe this Holiday Season

  1. Only Shop from Trustworthy Sites. It can be difficult to look for a specific gift for a loved one during the holidays, but keep in mind that there are many online stores posing to be something they are not. Only trust retailers you know to avoid making a purchase at an illegitimate site. Hackers can easily create fake websites and steal credit card information, so be aware if an item is significantly cheaper, it might be fake.
  2. Use Strong Passwords and Multi-Factor Authentication. It is always important to create passwords that are strong and have a variety of characters, numbers, and symbols. Using simple passwords like a pet’s name or 123 can be easily detected and your security could be jeopardized. If there is ever an option to opt out into a Multi-Factor Authentication for a website, utilize it to offer an extra level of protection. Sure, it may be annoying to receive a verification code every time you log into a website, but it will be more of a hassle in the long run if your information becomes stolen or compromised.
  3. Monitor Your Activity. You may already closely follow your financial accounts, but it it important to keep an eye on any suspicious transactions that appear on your financial statements during the holidays. If you think there might be a fraudulent charge on your account, notify your credit union immediately so they can prevent future loss on your end. Be mindful of small transactions that seem like nothing at first. Hackers like to test how much they can steal before making large transactions.
  4. Be Aware of Holiday Scams. Cybercriminals are constantly looking for consumers that let their guard down. Be diligent when opening emails, answering phone calls and text messages, and responding to social media ads during the holidays. If something seems off about a particular communication method, trust your gut and report or block the sender.
  5. Keep Your Devices Updated. Staying on top of your system updates can be a huge help against cyber attacks. These updates often release fixes for security issues. There is also a feature available for automatic updates, so you don’t have to worry about manually updating every time there is a new solution.
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