Cyber security expert offers ways to avoid holiday scams

Huntsville

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Before you go online to purchase that holiday gift this shopping season, you are going to have to know the risks of someone spying on you and your devices. 

Retailers are pushing for online shopping more than ever and that makes the risk of being hacked by cybercriminals is greater than ever. Cybercriminals are finding it easier to target both customers and retailers.  

“These criminals that exist online, they are in it for money. They are in it to harm you and create victims. That is what they do,” said Jay Town, Vice President of Gray Analytics cyber security.

Town warned that now more than ever everyone needs to be cyber aware. 

While most consumers will return to in-store shopping as COVID vaccination rates increase, Town said that online shopping has doubled due to product shortages and higher in-store prices. 

Town warned that the danger is there, which means it’s time to exercise cyber hygiene. He offered suggestions on how customers can avoid that dreaded holiday shopping fraud.

“Using a virtual personal network, a VPN, is always a good idea to make sure that you have antivirus software on all of your devices,” said Town.

He says keeping an eye on your children as they search online with devices has allowed hackers to swoop in for their prey. Which opens the door for debit card scams.  

“Use prepaid cards. At least you know that the nefarious actor is not accessing the whole of your checking account and they are only accessing the amount of that prepaid card,” Town suggested.

Town said another way that ransomware attacks have occurred doubled each year is mainly because your email inbox is full of sales to take advantage of.

“The deals that are too good to be true. Go to the website of the retailers themselves.”      

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