4 ways you can prevent cyber fraud this Cyber Monday

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are popular days for online shopping, especially as we head into the holiday season. While this is an exciting time, online shoppers need to be cautious - cybercriminals often take advantage of the spike in online sales, causing an increase in cyber fraud.

Why you need to be aware of cyber fraud

Most cyber fraud involves identity theft or stolen credit card information. Cybercriminals use different techniques to illegally obtain people or organization’s secure data. They may use this data themselves or sell it on the black market for fraudulent purposes. Cyber fraud is problematic since it’s hard to know right away if your information is stolen, unlike losing a physical credit card.

We’ve put together 4 tips to help you protect yourself from cyber fraud and enjoy online holiday shopping safely and securely.

The trap: Stolen credit card information used to make fraudulent online purchases

A solution: Use a credit card with a lower limit for online purchases.

If you use your credit card for a lot of online purchases, consider keeping the card limit as low as possible. A lower credit limit can protect you in case the card information is stolen, by limiting the amount of money fraudsters can spend.

Even though most credit card companies cover the cost of fraudulent charges, it’s still a safer option to use a lower limit card for online purchases. For larger or offline purchases, you can always use a separate credit card with a higher limit.

The trap: Cybercriminals obtain credit card information by creating phishing websites. They purchase domains that are similar to popular retailer websites to fool users.

A solution: Prevent yourself from being fooled by a phishing website by looking for the SSL Certificate.

An SSL Certificate indicates that a website is legitimate and has gone through a validation process. Websites with an SSL Certificate have “https” in the URL instead of “http”. A lock icon in the address bar of a website indicates that a website has passed the highest level of validation. SSL Certificates also ensure a secure connection by encrypting online transactions, preventing cybercriminals from viewing or retrieving any transaction details.

The trap: Many retailers send out newsletter promotions advertising Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Cybercriminals send out phishing emails at the same time, since it increases their chances of tricking people into thinking the email is from a legitimate source.

A solution: Protect yourself by investigating links before clicking on them.

Make sure the newsletter or promotion you’re viewing leads to the proper website. That being said, the best way to protect against cyber fraud is to go directly to company websites to make purchases, rather than visiting a website through an email link.

The trap: The majority of public Wi-Fi connections aren’t secure, and users on public Wi-Fi are an easy target for cybercriminals.

A solution: Rather than making online purchases at a coffee shop or elsewhere, do your online shopping at home. Ensure your home internet connection is secure by enabling passwords and encryption.

Even if you take precautions to protect yourself from cyber fraud, it is important to monitor your statements and credit activity. If you think you have been a victim of cyber fraud, you should report the incident to your credit card provider immediately. You can learn more about cybersecurity by visiting the Government of Canada website here.