With more Americans expected to do their holiday shopping online during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is urging all consumers to be on alert for holiday shopping scams and cyber threats, which historically spike during the holiday season. CISA has launched a new webpage with information for consumers on what to look for and how to avoid falling victim to fraud, through a series of easy-to-follow safety tips, videos and graphics.
“Americans are adjusting their travel and shopping habits for a holiday season that’s sure to be unlike anything we have experienced,” said Acting CISA Director Brandon Wales. “Hackers, scammers and thieves will take advantage of these changes and the generosity of the public during the holidays to target online shoppers and those giving to charities. There are a few simple steps everyone can take to lower their risk and have a safe and enjoyable holiday season.”
CISA recommends these three simple steps to keep consumers safe when shopping:
- Check your devices – Before starting your hunt for the best deal, make sure your devices are up-to-date and all of your accounts have strong passwords. If you purchase an internet connected device or toy, change the default password and check the device’s privacy and security settings to make sure you’re not sharing more information than you want.
- Shop through trusted retailers – Before making a purchase and providing any personal or financial information, make sure you’re using a reputable, established vendor. Similarly, if you’re planning to make a charitable donation, be sure to research who or where your donation is going, to ensure it’s a legitimate organization.
- Using safe methods for purchases – If you can, use a credit card or other forms of digital payments as opposed to a debit card as credit cards often have better fraud protections.
For more information about shopping online safely this holiday season, visit CISA.gov/shop-safely.