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11 Dec, 2023

Information Security Brief - December 2023

Holiday Tips: Keeping Digital Shopping Merry and Bright

As we head into the busy shopping season for our loved ones, below are four crucial things to remember while searching for that perfect gift(s).

  • Fake Ads
    • Holiday shopping brings a rise in fake ads being published for “trendy” or “viral” products on social media. Often, these ads require you to leave the social media site to a malicious website immediately, prompting for your credit card or banking information. Attackers attempt to make this process as fast as possible to catch you off-guard.
  • “Too Good to Be True” Deals
    • It probably is. Be aware of deals that seem too good to be true. Scammers often publish a popular product on a fake site at a crazy price to gather your financial information.
  • Trusted Sites AND Trusted Sellers
    • We all are familiar with Amazon, Target, and Walmart, but not every item on their website is sold by them. All of these sites allow third-party sellers to use their websites. These sites provide secure purchasing methods but cannot guarantee that the products are legitimate or priced appropriately. Be aware of the seller you are purchasing from on popular sites. You can often use filters to remove the third-party options.
  • Safe Methods for Purchasing
    • Before purchasing items online, plan for your preferred method of payment. Be hesitant to use a debit card or banking account information, and be sure the website you purchase from has the secure padlock symbol in the URL! There are laws to limit your liability for fraudulent credit card charges, but you may not have the same protection on your debit cards.[i] Explore using known secure payment options like credit cards, PayPal, or other vendors.

Online shopping has quickly become the preferred method for holiday shopping due to convenience, access to various markets, and price. Ensure that these benefits do not cloud your judgment for cyber scams. Remember, as you search for products, cyber scammers are also searching for their products: you.

Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has created an informative publication you can provide your customers during this holiday season. CISA Safety Tips PDF


[i] https://www.cisa.gov/resources-tools/resources/holiday-online-shopping-tips

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This publication attempts to provide timely and accurate information concerning the subjects discussed. It is furnished with the understanding that it does not provide legal or other professional services. If legal or other expert assistance is required, the services of a qualified professional should be obtained.

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