AUSTIN, Texas, Dec. 1, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Austin-based data analytics company 21CT today released their top four tips for protecting yourself during 'Cyber Monday' and throughout the online holiday shopping season.
"In 2005, crafty marketers coined the term 'Cyber Monday,' but in reality we now live in a Cyber Season that lasts from right after the turkey is eaten and through December," said Kyle Flaherty, 21CT Chief Marketing Officer. "This growth of a Cyber Season has also become a fairly easy way for all of us to throw ourselves in harm's way. We now realize the dangers inherent with online shopping and potential data breaches and identity theft. So as we move into another season our team of security pros wanted to share their top four tips for staying safe during your online holiday shopping spree."
Online Holiday Shopping Security Tip #1: Only Shop on Sites You Know and Trust
If you've never heard of the place, web search them before shopping there. Stick to the sites you know. Fraudsters are crafty and have been known to set up fake web storefronts to capture credit card information.
The 21CT pros say this seems obvious, but new online merchants pop up seemingly every second of every day. If an online store is mentioned in press outlets you already know and trust, chances are they're clear. If they seem like a local small shop with a web store, check news sites in their home town as well as the local Better Business Bureau or Chamber of Commerce. If you can't find any mentions of them, think twice before handing over your credit card.
Online Holiday Shopping Security Tip #2: Only Shop on Secure Web Sites
Never provide sensitive information (such as credit card numbers) to any web site not using a secure connection.
This is an easy one to forget about, even for the tech savvy. It's sort of mind-boggling that a site that takes your credit card information would not use a secure connection so we need to protect ourselves. A secure connection means it's encrypted. Without encryption, you're essentially mailing your credit card number to the web site on a post card that anyone can see.
So how do you tell if a site is secure? Look for a web address starting with HTTPS rather than the usual HTTP. Most browsers also display a lock symbol when you're on a secure connection. The 21CT pros tell us, if you don't see HTTPS, don't shop at the site. It's that simple.
Online Holiday Shopping Security Tip #3: Use Credit Cards Instead of Debit Cards
US consumers have excellent legal protection against fraudulent charges on credit cards, but less protection with debit cards. While using a debit card often feels the same as using a credit card, the choice differs in terms of your legal protection.
The 21CT pros tell us that while your liability with credit cards maxes out at $50 per card (and many cards offer zero liability as a selling point), legal protection for debit cards depends on how soon you report the card loss or suspicious activity, and effectively ends 60 days after the date of the statement containing the fraudulent transaction. Plus there's the little detail about the debit card deducting directly from your actual account balance, whereas a credit card is effectively a loan. That means the entire balance of any accounts linked to your debit card may be at risk.
Online Holiday Shopping Security Tip #4: Routinely Monitor Account Activity
Regularly checking your card statements and quickly reporting suspicious transactions or lost cards will limit (and possibly eliminate) your liability. For maximum protection against liability during the holiday season the 21CT pros recommend logging onto your account and checking the latest transactions once a week. Once the holidays are past us, do this at least once a month.
Also, if there is any fraudulent activity on your card, you have every right to request a new card with a new number. Insist on this even if the card issuer resists.
For more security and anti-fraud tips visit 21CT.com/blog.
21CT's LYNXeon suite of products are used throughout the country from the Department of Defense and international Oil & Gas organizations to secure their critical computer networks, to state governments looking to identify and prevent Medicaid fraud. Founded and headquartered in Austin, Texas, 21CT has pioneered the invention and applicable use of advanced data analytics, graph pattern analysis, behavioral analytics, and more. From the very beginning we have been on a mission to use data analytics to find bad people and to create a better world. 21CT technology is a flexible platform that can be used to detect behaviors in order to neutralize Medicaid fraud, prevent international terrorist plots, and help companies keep customers safe by identifying cyber attackers hiding in their network.
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/austin-data-analytics-company-releases-four-tips-for-a-safer-online-holiday-shopping-season-300002319.html