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Has your bank recently let you know about suspicious activity on your card? The holiday season is an ideal time for hackers to victimize shoppers online, but not always do banks catch this activity. Now that the chaos of Christmas and post-Christmas shopping have settled, it might be time to take a look at your statements to make sure you weren’t a chosen victim. 

 

No matter what you might be shopping for, almost every website tempts buyers with a large variety of deals and discounts. Although some websites might be well-established, there are many shady websites and apps which are fake shopping sites that steal your personal information and payment details. In 2018, there was a report that 76 percent of purchases have been made from CNP (card not present).

 

What to Look for If You Think Your Device or PII Has Been Compromised

 

Scammers are looking to steal Personally Identifiable Information, like your bank account details, addresses, and social security number, when attacking. Here are a few signs to look for if you think you might be a victim:

  • Battery life that has weakened – Although a phone or laptop battery may weaken over time, a sudden depletion could mean that your device is compromised. Malware and spyware use your device’s resources to send information to their servers to use.
  • A high internet usage bill  Since the malware program continues to send information through your internet in the background, you might end up with a costlier bill than usual.
  • Strange pop-ups – There might be few pop-ups that occur from time to time, but if there are constant pop-ups, this could mean adware is in your device. This forces you to view pages that bring them revenue. You might even try to close the ad, but it would take you to a malicious page instead.

 

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What to Do if You’ve Determined You Were Hit

 

Here are some tips on how to regain control of your device and bank account:

  • Reset all passwords that you use online – Make sure to do this from a safe device. Otherwise, your compromised device will warn the hacker, and they will have your new ones too.
  • Change your PIN – Make sure to change your Personal Identification Pin from a device that wasn’t hacked.
  • Speak to your bank and debit/credit card company – If your banking or card information was stolen, talk to your bank and credit/ debit card company to check for fraud activity and find out if the card needs to be blocked and your account closed. 

 

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How to Ensure Your Future Safety

Here are a few ways to prevent any future attacks:

  1. Choose secure websites and apps – Always go for apps and websites that are popular. Find and download apps from the Apple or Play Store only.
  2. Never give your payment details easily – Never use your card or banking details on an app or website that doesn’t have a lock symbol or SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). This encryption transfers data safely to the seller’s server.
  3. Creating and changing passwords – Continue to update and change your password every few months. Choose strong passwords when setting up your accounts and different ones for different needs.
  4. Download malware protection software – This is the best software you can invest in because it will keep you safe and warn you before opening any malicious sites. It also removes any other forms of malware such as adware and spyware.  Visit here for more information about malware protection.
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Stay Safe to Keep the Christmas Spirit

Continue to change your passwords and make safe payments to prevent hacking. Most importantly, choose reliable websites to shop from so that you remain safe and excited.