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Love Online Shopping? So Do Cybercriminals. Stay Ahead of Them This Holiday Season.

African american dad and daughter on ipad

Do you love the hustle and bustle of Black Friday? Or do you prefer to shop from the comfort of your phone, coffee in hand? If you chose the latter, you’re not alone. According to market research firm Criteo, last year, 40% of Black Friday online purchases were made on mobile phones, up from 29% in 2016. Also, research tells us that on Cyber Monday 2017, 47.4% of us shopped from our mobile devices. And given the popularity of digital voice-driven devices (like Alexa, Amazon Home or Google Echo), mobile and online shopping has never been easier or more appealing.

Unfortunately, cybercriminals are keenly aware of these trends and know how to exploit these access points to steal your information. Their current scam of choice is account takeovers. This is where they use stolen account numbers, passwords, Social Security Numbers and PINs to drain your bank account. Last year, losses reached $5.1 billion.

Cybercriminals may be on high alert during the holidays, but you can outsmart them. Here are five simple steps you can take while shopping from your mobile device to protect yourself this holiday season:

Add security to your mobile device.

For example, use your phone’s fingerprint or passcode unlocking feature if available. Don’t forget these other important online and mobile security tips.

Go mobile.

Mobile banking apps are typically more secure than desktop sites. That said, sign out of all banking, social media and shopping apps each time after using them. That way, if you lose your phone or tablet, whoever finds it won’t have easy access to your account information.

Watch for scams.

Watch out for email scams. Retailers crank up the email marketing around Black Friday. From phishing to viruses to Trojans, scammers use a variety of email scams to extract personal information from you. Learn how to identify email scams and protect yourself against them here.

Set up alerts.

Set up bank account alerts for abnormal withdrawal amounts or low balances so you can spot unusual activity right away.

Cybercriminals are crafty, but you can be craftier! We’ll share more suggestions as we get into the thick of holiday shopping! Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter for more cybersecurity tips this holiday season.


Written by: Sarah Nicholas

Sarah is the Director of Communications for Serendipity Communications. She lives in Plainwell, Michigan with her husband, daughters and stepson, with twin stepdaughters nearby. She is passionate about cyber safety education for children and enjoys ballet dancing, reading and volunteering at her children’s school.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.