Prepare for a Safe Cyber Monday

How to safeguard your devices, amigos!

By LatinoLA Contributor
Published on LatinoLA: November 17, 2011

Prepare for a Safe Cyber Monday

A forecast by the National Retail Federation predicts that 46.7% of respondents say they'll purchase holiday items online this season, up from 43.9% a year ago. Unfortunately, cybercriminals are on the lookout for ways to "scrooge" your holiday online shopping experience.

No matter what device you plan to use for holiday shopping, whether it's your smartphone, tablet or computer, you need to protect your personal information to ensure you're shopping safely and securely online.

Luckily, Geek Squad is here to help consumers practice safe online habits that can help you shop safely, starting with one of the biggest online shopping days: Cyber Monday, the Monday following Thanksgiving Day. With so many tempting deals luring you online, Geek Squad offers the following advice to help you prepare for online holiday shopping:

Safeguard Your Devices Using your mobile device to make holiday purchases is a quick, easy way to get ahead of the game and avoid the rush, and consumers are taking advantage of this. In fact, 52.6% of the respondents in the NRF survey, who claim to have a smartphone, plan on using their device to aid their holiday shopping. If you plan to shop on the go, take the proper security precautions:

o Make sure you only shop from reputable retailers and double check the web address before sending your information.

o Some smartphones may default to an open wireless network when available, rather than using up the data from your data plan. Make sure you aren't using an open wireless network when shopping online, as your data there is not secure. That means no crossing off the shopping list while accessing the WiFi connection in your local coffee shop.

o Lock your device with a master password. You should also password-protect your device if you are using your credit card to make purchases. If a misplaced device ends up in the wrong hands, you'll be thankful that a secure password is in place. A device that isn't password protected makes it that much easier for a cybercriminal to access your information. As always, make sure you choose a password that attackers won't guess no birthdays or addresses!

Secure Your Network Prevent unauthorized access to your PC or laptop from the Internet by installing proper Firewall Software. Firewalls help keep your PC secure while you surf the Web and avoid the throngs of shoppers. These firewalls help protect your personal information, and can help block it from being transmitted over the Web. Careful though Ǫ configuring a firewall can be tricky and improperly doing so can prevent any access at all. If you need help setting this up, contact a Geek Squad Agent at 1-800 GEEK SQUAD, geeksquad.com or at any Best Buy store.

Avoid Holiday Spam During the holiday season, consumers are more susceptible to spam because they are shopping online more and eager to find good gift ideas. What's even scarier is that spammers use seasonal hooks and holiday-themed subject lines to lure people into reading their e-mails. Geek Squad's Advice:

o Do a quick, free diagnostic scan for spyware and viruses by going to the Geek Squad Security Center

o Do not open an e-mail or click on a link from someone you do not know, and if you see a strange attachment from someone you do know, check with them first to see if they actually sent it.

o When in doubt, retype a website yourself if someone sends it to you.

o Install anti-spyware programs and anti-virus programs.

o Make sure your operating system is up to date.

Update Passwords If the sites you're shopping on require you to register, create a strong password.

o Geek Squad recommends that you treat your password like the key to your front door. Pick a strong password, don't share it and don't write it down.

o Never use a personal nickname, pet name, birth date, address or other public information as your password. This information is surprisingly easy to find.

o Never use whole words you find in the dictionary.

o Use different passwords for different websites.

o Take advantage of the shift key, and use the available characters in addition to numbers and capital letters.

Keep your credit card information in your wallet Geek Squad recommends that you NEVER store your credit card or other personal information on websites, which could be vulnerable to hackers and scam artists. However, if you're addicted to the time saving that storing your card information means, use cards with a low credit limit.

Guard Your Gear Beware of wandering eyes! Keep an eye out for seat neighbors who might try to read your screen if you're browsing in any public place. You may want to think about investing in a privacy screen or filter, which fits easily over your computer's screen, and can be found in all shapes and sizes. Also, never leave your laptop unattended in a public place.

For help setting up a Firewall or for more tips on how to shop safely and securely this holiday season, call 1.800.GEEK SQUAD or find a location near you at www.geeksquad.com.

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