Consumer Watch: Protecting yourself from online scams


Scammers are people too. It's a bit silly, but it's true, and it is a warning from tech experts on why you should be especially careful on the Internet this time of year.

Scammers know you are feeling the holiday season pressure, and are looking for good deals on presents.

PCMag tells Fox 25 Consumer Watch that one of easiest ways to protect your identity online is to hover. Yes, just hover your curser over an image you've been emailed to make sure you know where it's really sending. Also, when you are surfing the web, take a second to look at the top of your screen.

“When you are shopping online and you want to secure your information, make sure to look at the URL and make sure you are connected to the URL you want to be going to. Make sure that website is legit, “says Max Eddy with PCMag.

Another safety reminder is that public WIFI isn't the safest option, but people use it anyway. Consider other forms of protection here.

“If you are shopping in public, over a public WIFI, try to use a VPN to secure your connection even more,” recommends Eddy.

A VPN, or virtual private network, is available in app form now and can make your web connection more secure.

ID theft normally happens with your site services or bank accounts. Whether or not you have been a victim remember that it's smart to have good security hygiene.

“Install antivirus, and actually use it. Use a password manager, and use a unique password for every single site and service that you use. That makes it much harder for attackers to spread in case they get in. Turn on two-factor authentications on any site or service that supports it and actually use it, “says Eddy.

Protections are there for you at the touch of a button, but they won't do anything if you opt out of them to log on to something faster. Also, it is a good idea to check your credit report regularly by getting one free check a year from the credit bureaus, or you can use credit monitoring apps-- many of them are also free. For more tips on safer online shopping, PCMag has a breakdown here.

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