It’s possible to be vigilant about cyber-crime and still enjoy holiday shopping. Here are some tips, whether you are searching for that perfect gift at the mall or on your phone.
Online: Before entering your address and credit card info online, make sure you verify the website or app. To do that, check that the URL you know and trust is what’s actually in your web browser’s address bar. Also, look for the lock sign that notes a secure site. Fake retail apps are a major problem, even in a long-trusted source like the Apple App Store. To prevent submitting information inside a fake app, look online for multiple site reviews, and check what customers are saying about their product and delivery before downloading.
In-Person: It’s important to be alert in crowded malls and big box retailers: your personal info can be stolen without someone grabbing your wallet. Be wary of shoulder surfers while in customer service lines, and always shield the hand typing your PIN number from the eyes of potential thieves. Also, check for skimmers before using an ATM or a credit card processing machine. Skimmers are small credit card readers installed over real card readers. Before you swipe, ask yourself if anything looks tampered with. More helpful tips about protecting your personal information are available on the UF Information Security Office’s Protect Yourself page.