Staying safe online Cyber Monday and during holiday shopping season

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Staying Safe Online Cyber Monday and During the Holiday Shopping Season

Cyber Monday this year is expected to be the largest online shopping day in history.  Cyber Monday is expected to generate $7.8 billion in sales, a 17% increase from the previous year, according to Adobe Analytics, which tracks online sales.

The combination of a strong U.S. economy, healthy consumer spending and low gas prices may be giving retailers a boost this holiday season.

While Cyber Monday provides an excellent opportunity for consumers to snag a bargain on that item they’ve been looking to purchase, it is also a great opportunity for hackers and cyber criminals to steal your most valuable personal information.

Before completing that online purchase, it is important to know the risks involved, such as identity theft, fraud and even home security system hacking.

Christopher Krebs, who serves as the first director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), states that Cyber Monday is a target rich environment and the threats are both identity theft and financial.

According to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) and J.D. Power’s 2018 Consumer Cyber Insurance and Security Spotlight Survey, more than four out of five American consumers who own connected devices either lack insurance to protect them from cyber threats or do not know if they are covered. More than 75% of survey respondents said they don’t plan to pay more for cyber risk coverage.

Protect yourself from the dangers on online shopping with these tips:

  1. Before entering your credit card or payment information, make sure the site you are on is HTTPS and not HTTP. HTTPS indicates that your online shopping session is secure and that the site you’re on uses encryption to protect your personal information.
  2. If you receive an email for a Cyber Monday offer or see an offer on social media, don’t click through using the links they provide. Type the actual site address into your laptop or cell phone so that you are going directly to the website, and always buy through retailers you know and trust.
  3. Use unique and strong passwords. Don’t use the same password for different accounts, especially ones that hold your personal information.
  4. Use a VPN on public Wi-Fi. Public Wi-Fi connections are often unencrypted and unsecured, which makes users vulnerable to a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack. A VPN creates a “secure tunnel” where data sent over a Wi-Fi connection is encrypted.
  5. Use your judgement. If a deal seems like it is too good to be true, it probably is. A deal that seems hard to believe could be a phishing attempt.
  6. Be aware of how much information you’re giving out and who you’re giving it to. If you’re not sure about a certain retailer, check the website’s privacy policy.
  7. Use credit cards as opposed to debit cards. Credit cards tend to have better security than a debit card or other forms of payment.


Keep the tips above in mind, when you are doing your online shopping this Cyber Monday and throughout the holiday season. A data breach insurance policy is an inexpensive way to make sure you’re protected against cyber criminals. Contact your McSweeney & Ricci Insurance Account Manager for more information on adding a data breach or cyber liability policy to your personal insurance program.


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