Cyber security tips for online holiday shopping

Cyber security tips for online holiday shopping
Lots of folks do their holiday shopping online but there are some things you should know before you click the "purchase" button. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Retailers have made it easy to buy everything we need online, but criminals are finding it easier to target customers and retailers.

There are people who want to steal everything from your account information, to information on the merchants that you are dealing with.

“It’s a very happy time of the year, but it’s also a very dangerous time of the year where we just need to be aware of what’s going on,” says Joel Sargent, a Cyber security expert with ACCI of Birmingham.

Sargent says criminals are primed to get to your information any way they can. He says rule number one is to shop at a trusted online store, one that is popular by the public.

“This isn’t a good time to find a new source to buy stuff online, don’t find a new company that you’ve never done business with before and set up an account. This is not the best time of the year to do that,” says Sargent.

Folks will use their credit and debit cards to make those purchases from online merchants, especially on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The most attractive days for hackers.

“The best advice is to use an updated browser like Google Chrome or Firefox because they are going to tell you if the site is not secure. If you look at the top and it says not secure or if you get a warning that’s not secure, don’t do business there because all of the major retailers are going to have encryption on their sites,” Sargent said.

Another tip: Sargent says to make sure you use your credit card when buying online. A credit card has protections that a debit card may not have.

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