Get Savvy About WiFi
WiFi is everywhere. Many use it in their home networks, and open-access, “free” WiFi hotspots are just about everywhere. According to data from Adobe Digital Insights, 58% of holiday shopping traffic and nearly 40% of sales from November 1 through December 19, 2018, were generated on mobile devices (that is, smartphones and tablets). If you make purchases on the go, it’s critical that you understand the implications of sharing private data over WiFi.
Here are some key points to remember about WiFi security:
- If there is no password, the WiFi network is not secure. This goes for your home network as well. A secure network uses encryption measures and is protected by a strong password.
- Scammers snoop on public WiFi. Sadly, this is not at all difficult for someone who has the right tools. You can never assume an open WiFi network is safe from prying eyes. As such, it’s best to avoid entering any private information (including logins, passwords, and account numbers) while on a public network.
- Just because you trust the location doesn't mean you can trust the WiFi. See points 1 and 2.
- If you can’t wait for secure network, use a VPN and make sure URLs start with https. A VPN helps to protect the data you transmit by creating a secure virtual "tunnel" for your information to pass through, so it's a must for anyone who regularly relies on public WiFi. In addition, sites that use https (e.g., https://google.com vs. http://google.com) do prevent snooping; your communications are kept secure in those sessions. In fact, https is valuable addition to any online session that requires you to enter private information, not just those over WiFi. It’s important, however, that you do not confuse secure communications with safe sites.
Consider an Online-Only Credit Card
First and foremost, do not use debit cards for online purchases. Should a breach occur, a credit card offers you some insulation because fraudulent purchases will not empty your bank account.
Second, consider dedicating one credit card for online use and limiting the available credit line. This will allow you to easily monitor your transactions and protect your accounts. Plus, if something happens in cyberspace, you’ll only have to make one phone call and deal with a single company to resolve any issues.
Steer Clear of ‘Too Good to be True’ Offers
Just share this email with 150 people and you’ll get a $50 restaurant gift card!
Invite 300 people to this Facebook event and we’ll give you a $100 store credit!
Fill out this survey and you’ll get free shipping for life!
The lure of getting something for nothing is a much-loved trick for scammers. Why? Because it works. Don’t fall for it! You’ll likely be asked to give up your email address, personal details, and even credit card numbers in order to “take advantage” of incredible offers. I’m betting you’ll know when something sounds too good to be true. Do yourself — and those hundreds of social media connections — a favor and leave those “gifts” unopened.