Checklist 354: Safe Holiday Shopping in the Metaverse and Meatspace
Beware of ‘Grinch Bots’ and Stay Safe Online with the Core 4 Behaviors
In preparation for the holiday shopping season, The Checklist turns to the National Cybersecurity Alliance for crucial online safety tips. The Alliance’s cybersecurity checklist emphasizes the importance of the “Core 4 behaviors” to protect against cyber threats:
Unique and Complex Passwords
Use a password manager and ensure each account has a distinct, robust password of at least 12 characters.
Multifactor Authentication (MFA)
Enable MFA for accounts that support it to add an extra layer of security.
Automatic Software Updates
Keep software up to date by enabling automatic updates or installing them promptly.
Learn to identify phishing attempts and report suspicious messages to relevant authorities.
Emphasizing the enduring significance of these tips, the checklist serves as a timely reminder, especially as online shopping activity peaks during the holiday season.
Bargain Hunting Dangers: If It Seems Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is
As economic uncertainty persists, the allure of online bargains grows, but the National Cybersecurity Alliance warns against potential traps. Shoppers are advised to have a sense of reasonable prices, avoiding deals that seem too good to be true to prevent receiving counterfeit or misrepresented items.
Protect Your Finances: Monitor Statements and Avoid Public Wi-Fi
The Alliance recommends vigilant monitoring of bank and credit card statements, designating it as the “first line of defense against identity theft and fraud.” Additionally, caution is advised against shopping on public Wi-Fi due to security concerns. If necessary, using a VPN or mobile hotspot is recommended.
Guard Your Data: Avoid Over-Sharing Online
Shoppers are cautioned against divulging excessive personal information online. The Alliance suggests refraining from filling out unnecessary fields on websites, advocating for privacy-conscious consumer behavior.
Beware of ‘Grinch Bots’: A Growing Threat to Holiday Shoppers
The National Cybersecurity Alliance sheds light on the rising menace of “Grinch Bots,” automated programs that rapidly purchase popular items for resale at inflated prices. Shoppers are urged to avoid buying from such resellers to mitigate the risks of fraud, counterfeit goods, and to discourage unethical practices.
In conclusion, the Alliance’s comprehensive holiday cybersecurity checklist provides essential guidance to ensure safe and secure online shopping experiences. For further details, visit https://staysafeonline.org/resources/safe-online-holiday-shopping/.
In-Store Shopping Safety Tips: Protecting Your Holiday Haul in Meatspace
Despite the prevalence of online shopping, a recent report from the Pew Research Center unveils that physical stores still dominate retail sales, outpacing e-commerce by a significant margin. While online sales reached 16.3% during the 2022 holiday season, traditional brick-and-mortar stores account for over 80% of all shopping.
Safety Tips for In-Store Shopping: Insights from State Farm and Law Enforcement
Given the substantial focus on cybersecurity, the show turns attention to in-store safety tips sourced from State Farm Insurance and police officers in Montgomery County, Texas. Sgt. David Dickenson warns of increased theft during the holidays, advising shoppers to avoid leaving valuables visible in parked cars.
Protecting Your Belongings: Practical Tips for a Safer Shopping Experience
Law enforcement emphasizes the importance of securing parked vehicles by keeping windows up and not leaving valuables in plain sight. State Farm offers additional advice, encouraging shoppers to lock their cars, park in well-lit areas, and stay vigilant about their surroundings to deter theft.
Ensuring Personal Safety: Strategies Against ‘Jugging’ Incidents
To safeguard against potential threats like “jugging,” where thieves follow victims from banks to their homes, shoppers are advised to be aware of their surroundings. SafeWise suggests seeking populated areas or contacting the police if suspicions arise. The report emphasizes the significance of having a charged phone and trusting one’s instincts.
In-Store Conduct: State Farm Urges Caution and Courtesy During Holiday Shopping
State Farm emphasizes maintaining composure in crowded stores, discouraging arguing or fighting over items. The report stresses that no holiday purchase is worth compromising personal safety or engaging in heated disputes.
Post-Shopping Safety: Best Practices After Returning Home
After completing the shopping spree, the focus shifts to post-shopping safety, mirroring online shopping habits. Shoppers are advised to save receipts and closely monitor credit card activity. The recommendation to use only one credit card during the holiday season is reiterated to minimize the impact of potential data breaches.