CHICAGO (WLS) – Security experts say vacation scams are hitting consumers hard right now. Here’s what to look for after opening the gifts and what to look for while shopping.
Warning 1: Criminals can focus on Wi-Fi connections when shopping
“Loot from shoppers shopping over public Wi-Fi connections. There is a very simple technique for bad actors to be the middle man, the technique called, where once they are essentially able to tap into your connection from a public Wi-Fi room “You can track any information anywhere you go and start collecting that information,” warned David Nuti of Nord Security.
He said you should make sure you always have a secure WiFi connection that requires authentication or a password. Experts say that you can also install something called a virtual private network, or VPN, on your phone and devices to combat hacks. You can also simply shop with the data on your phone.
And whether you are at home or shopping on the go, pay attention to the website itself.
“Double check the websites you visit,” said Nuti. “When you look at a website address. Make sure it’s https. In the end, that ‘S’ is ‘safe’ so you have basic encryption there. If the ‘S’ isn’t on the address, turn around and run. “
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Warning 2: Beware of fake emails and texts for shopping
Some claim to help you track shipments.
“Phishing emails that look official from a website, maybe an email telling you your shipments are being held up and will only take $ 1.99 from you to clear,” advised Nuti.
Also, watch out for messages saying you have a free gift card. This could also be a phishing link designed to trick you into revealing personal information or installing malware on your device.
Warning 3: Any device you connect to your home’s WiFi could be hacked
“Lots of smart devices today, smart toys, cool stuff, from drones, everything else. Have a computer in it. And most people don’t think of this smart doll. Or drone or smart coffeepot as a computer, it is one and we think about computers that we are safe, ”warned Chris Rouland, founder and CEO of Phosphorus Cybersecurity.
These devices are connected to your home’s Wi-Fi and can be a gateway to your desktop, laptop, and valuable information on your hard drive.
Anything you have at home with Wi-Fi leaves you vulnerable to hackers trying to break into your computer. After a scammer gets inside, they can use the information to collect fees or take the device hostage and demand payment from you.
How do you keep these smart gifts?
First, make sure that your WiFi has a strong password. Then change any default passwords on Wi-Fi enabled products.
“Just change your passwords for anything you buy. Also change the password on your own router. Nobody does this. This is the most important thing you can do to improve your safety. I’ll make a lot of hackers angry if I tell you a trick changes the password on the router, ”advised Rouland.
To change your router’s password, which is different from your WiFi password, look on the back of the router for instructions or call your Internet service provider.
The I-Team warns you about fake websites, some of which can also be found on social media, throughout the Christmas season. These websites can take your money and never deliver a product. Make sure you shop on a trusted website and use a credit card in case you need to dispute a charge.
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