Don't get scammed this holiday season.
Lori Getz: I'm sitting in my office still in my pajamas about to complete ALL of my holiday shopping! It's so easy -- and I know I'm safe because when I shop online, there are a few rules I always follow:
2. Use a different username and password: Create an identity different from the one you use with e-mail, IM, or any social networking site. That way, if someone gets ahold of your password, they will not be able to use your credit card or other banking information. Your password should always be very difficult to guess, and use at least 1 capital letter, 1 lower case letter, a number, and a special character, if it's possible.
3. Always use a pseudo-identity: Create an e-mail account specifically for shopping or registering for items online. Do not use any of your real information (Name: John Doe, Age: 100, Location: Zimbabwe). This way, if the site does give your e-mail address to third-party advertisers, all of the spam will go someplace other than your personal e-mail account.
4. Only shop from a secure location: The best place is from your home computer with a secure network connection and a current subscription to anti-virus, anti-spyware, and firewall protection. Never use a public computer to log into accounts or use your credit card online. You never know who was at the computer before you or what they put on the computer in the way of spy software.
5. Be careful of phishing scams: Reputable sites will not send you e-mails or display pop-ups asking you to confirm your account by logging in from that window. You may receive an e-mail in which you are asked to click a link to confirm -- that's just fine -- but you will be returned to the original site. Phishing scams are hackers that create a facade to look like the shopping site, and when you "log in," your username and password are routed to the hacker.
Happy Holidays and safe shopping!
|Lori Getz is the founder of Cyber Education Consultants and speaks to students, parents and educators about Internet safety, security and ethics. She has a Master of Arts in Educational Technology from San Diego State University and is certified by isafe.org as an Internet Safety Specialist. Her mission is to help bridge the gap between a young generation of digital natives and their parents and teachers. She is the mother of one and lives in Los Angeles with her husband.|