With Mother’s Day around the corner, many people will be turning to the web in search of the perfect gift for mom – while some mothers will simply be looking to treat themselves (go ahead, you deserve it!). Just remember, not all online shopping experiences are as perfect as our mothers. In fact, I’m sure some moms out there would be shocked to know that their children have grown into cybercriminals who are always developing scams to steal your personal and financial information online. Since threats are all over cyberspace, this is the perfect time to remind ourselves to be extra cautious.
The 2011 Norton Cybercrime Report found that 69 per cent of Canadian adults have fallen victim to cybercrime. That’s 14 Canadians every minute. And another recent survey found similar rates for children too!
Although online scams can have frightening consequences, there are many easy steps you and your family can take to ensure your online Mother’s Day shopping experience this year is a safe one:
Stick to trusted websites: When conducting transactions online, make sure the website address contains “https” instead of “http,” which indicates an added layer of protection. Also, scan the entire web page for a trust mark, such as the Norton Secured Seal. Formerly known as the VeriSign Trust Seal, this mark demonstrates that a trusted company has taken comprehensive measures to certify security, online business ethics and customer privacy standards.
Avoid making online transactions in public hotspots: Free Wi-Fi can be appealing to shoppers on the go – but security for such connections may be sorely lacking. To avoid any disappointing surprises, steer clear of doing your Mother’s Day shopping on an unencrypted, public hotspot network connection. In fact, only use public Wi-Fi for browsing – never transmit passwords or personal info.
Pick one, low-limit credit card for all your online transactions: Nothing is more appealing to cybercriminals than high credit limits. When shopping online, use a dedicated credit card with a low-limit ($500). That way, even if you become the target of a cyber attack, you won’t find yourself trying to recover thousands of dollars in stolen credit.
Sit down with your children and have “The Talk”: Parents need to be aware that kids are going to want privacy to develop their own online identity and to do their shopping. But parents need to talk to children about the dangers of visiting inappropriate sites and of making purchases without their knowledge. Make sure you are setting clear budgets for online shopping and emphasizing the importance of shopping on safe, reputable sites.
Don’t let scams ruin your online shopping experience: Use trusted online security software, like Norton Internet Security 2012, or a mobile solution, like Norton Mobile Security or Norton Tablet Security, to make sure you’re protected against online threats.
Regardless of where you do you shopping, make sure to get mom something nice… and a card too!
For more information on how to stay safe online, visit the Norton website.
Lynn Hargrove is the Director of Consumer Solutions for Symantec Canada.