PCI Pal’s new ‘Risk Calculator’ study surrounding data security has recently featured on Forbes.
Having just gone through a round of cyberscams recently, I am being incredibly cautious online these days.
I’m not posting anything relating to financial services on social media, nor am I emailing account or credit card information. I’ve frozen my credit reports and trying to find out who wrote three bogus checks on my accounts.
How can you protect yourself? Here are some surefire cybersecurity tips based on a new study from PCI Pal, a payment solutions firm:
- Using the same password across multiple sites and apps. Long identified as one of the major causes of cybercrime, this easy-to-remedy mistake is likely to leave consumers out of pocket before they begin the holiday shopping splurge. To avoid this mistake, check out the various password managers online that can help to ensure all passwords you use are unique and random.
- Using public WiFi to make purchases and check financial information. Impulse purchases and in-the-moment sales can be tempting – but for the 45% of consumers that admit to accessing sensitive data such as payment or shipping information over public or free WiFi, the risk could result in that information being stolen ‘in transit’ before the purchase is confirmed. Turn on your cellular data or log on to a secure WiFi network when accessing sensitive data to keep your data safe.
- Not checking customer service credentials. An eye-opening 44% admit that they don’t always check the credentials of the customer service representative they are engaging with – giving information such as name, date of birth and payment data to relative strangers. Stay ahead of cyber criminals by making sure the number you’re calling comes from the company’s website, and if you receive a call, hang-up and call the company back using contact details you’ve verified.
- Showing Goodwill to All. Avoid granting access to your data to strangers by vetting every friend request that comes in and deleting the ones you are unsure of.
- Clicking first and asking questions later. Despite decades of consumer education, the temptation to click through links or download attachments of unknown origin persists. Phishing attacks are the biggest cause of cyber compromise, yet almost a third (30%) can’t resist clicking links, even if the consequences might prove more naughty than nice. If unsure of a link or attachment, avoid opening it!
- Making it a season of (over)sharing. Prevent this by ensuring that your social media settings are locked down so that personal information is only shared with your explicit consent.
- Overlooking checks and balances. Two-factor authentication was introduced to provide a relatively frictionless and much improved security safety net but the research shows that it is still not widely used. Google, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram and others all offer two-factor authentication. Make sure you have it turned on in your settings for an added layer of protection!
Be safe online: If a site looks fake or is too good to be true, avoid it. Be picky about your clicks!