According to research, 55% of Americans are concerned about touching banknotes and coins for fear that they might transmit the virus. This, as well as the rise of contactless payments and the increase in online shopping, has led to a spike in credit card use this year. However, it also led to a spike in credit card fraud.
Credit card fraud has increased by more than 35% year over year, according to the Wall Street Journal. In total, consumers reported a $26-million loss — 11,000 reports of credit card fraud and 6,000 in debit card fraud.
In addition, the holiday season is upon us, with Cyber Deals, Christmas presents, and other large shopping occasions. With more countries going back into lockdowns, online payments are predicted to rise even further.
“All of these factors combined — the stress of the pandemic, the increased penetration of online services, and the holidays — have created the perfect climate for scammers. Netizens have to be more careful than ever,” says Chad Hammond, security expert at NordPass.
Compromised passwords are the leading cause of identity theft
Recycled passwords jeopardize your account security. In 2019, a major data breach at Microsoft revealed that 44 million user accounts were vulnerable because of reused passwords, according to Forbes.
“In addition, we see that on average people have 25% more passwords than they did before the pandemic. This means that the number of reused passwords is probably growing as well, as people often tend to reuse their passwords,” says Chad Hammond, security expert at NordPass.
However, the security expert assures that shopping securely is completely possible. Here are his top 5 tips for secure shopping:
- Use unique and strong passwords
Password reuse is a huge problem that could lead to identity theft, credential stuffing, and other attacks. Make sure each and every password is completely unique. If you’re struggling to remember them all, use a password manager to store all your credentials.
- Research the e-shop
If you want to buy something from a website you haven’t used before, look it up to see if it’s legitimate. Also, there might be some signs that will help identify a fake e-shop: poor website design and language, shady contact information, and poor customer reviews. In addition to that, be cautious of domains which end in .net or .org, as they are rarely used for online shopping.
- Learn to recognize phishing
Phishing is a type of social engineering technique designed to trick you into giving away your sensitive information. It can appear in the form of an email with a malicious attachment, or it may include a link to direct you to a spoofed website. It will often be masked as an amazing deal or offer. But remember — if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Look for the padlock
When shopping online, make sure to check whether the website URL starts with HTTPS rather than HTTP. The “S” in HTTPS stands for “secure”, and it is often preceded by a padlock symbol in the URL bar. This means it is legitimate and secure, as it encrypts your traffic.
- Watch your accounts closely
Hackers will often rely on people’s laziness and attempt to steal small sums of money in the hope that they will go unnoticed. Make sure you monitor your accounts carefully, question transactions you don’t recall, and report the ones that seem fraudulent.
NordPass is a password manager powered by the latest technology for the utmost security. Developed with affordability, simplicity, and ease-of-use in mind, NordPass allows users to access passwords securely on desktop, mobile, and browsers. All passwords are encrypted on the device, so only the user can access them. NordPass was created by the experts behind NordVPN — the advanced security and privacy app trusted by more than 14 million customers worldwide. For more information: nordpass.com.