LAUDERDALE LAKES, Fla. (November 19, 2012) – Holiday shoppers looking to save big this year and avoid the rush of Black Friday will hit the worldwide web to take advantage of Cyber Monday specials. According to a study conducted by the National Retail Federation and BigInsight.com, 52 percent of U.S. shoppers will make at least one online purchase this holiday season.
“The holidays are supposed to be cheerful and carefree,” said Larry Baumgardner, IT Program Head. “Online shoppers need to take extra precautions to ensure that they do not fall victim to scams and fraud this holiday season.”
Anthem Education Group and Florida Career College offer eight tips to keep online shoppers safe from fraud and hackers:
1. Verify websites are secure before making online payments. Safe websites will feature an unbroken key or closed lock; begin with “https” instead of “http;” or use the words “Secure Sockets Layer” (SSL).
2. Use familiar websites. Shop on a retailer’s official website and watch out for misspellings or sites using different top-level domains such as “.net.”
3. Shop on sites with posted privacy policies. Web sellers are legally allowed to share information collected on their sites. The government has encouraged internet vendors to post privacy policies indicating information collected, how it will be used and “opt out” options.
4. Browse in public, shop in private. Public Wi-Fi networks are not protected or secure, leaving you vulnerable to hackers.
5. Download apps from credible vendors. It is best to use applications that are provided directly by your retailer or a legitimate app store, and not third-party vendors.
6. Use credit cards for online purchases. Many credit card companies have zero liability policies in place for instances of fraud or credit card theft. Debit cards and online transfers do not offer the same security and should not be used for online purchases.
7. Make sure your browser and anti-virus software is up-to-date. New virus threats are issued all the time and can infect a computer that visits a rogue website and is using an outdated version of your browser or antivirus software. Download current versions of Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox, which offer protection against online exploits. Antivirus software should be updated often and scheduled to scan for threats at least once a week.
8. Never open attachments from strangers. Cyber Monday is a popular day for phishing emails and spammers. Attachments are the easiest way for your computer to become infected with a virus, malware or worse. Only open attachments from senders you know, and when in doubt, always run a virus scan first.
The Computer Security Network Technician and Engineer programs are offered at Florida Career College campuses in Brandon, Clearwater, Hialeah, Jacksonville, Lauderdale Lakes, Miami, Pembroke Pines and West Palm Beach. The Anthem Education Group Computer Networking and Security program is offered at Anthem College in Orlando and the Anthem Institute New Jersey campuses in Cherry Hill, Jersey City, North Brunswick and Parsippany. Students learn how to design, install, configure and maintain computer infrastructures, as well as secure them from vulnerabilities and attacks. For more information, please visit http://www.careercollege.edu and http://www.anthem.edu.