Holiday Shopping

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We purchase everything online and sales are expected to grow another 11% - 15% this holiday season! Cybercriminals are always working on their next score, so avoid getting scammed by using these tips to help keep you safe while online shopping.

1. Use a password manager.

Password managers create and store your usernames and passwords in an encrypted vault that you can access across your devices and UC Berkeley offers FREE LastPass PremiumAt a minimum, separate your work/University and personal accounts and make sure that your critical accounts have strong passwords -- and multi-factor authentication when available.

2. Charge it.

Pay by credit card, not debit card. Credit cards offer protections that may reduce your liability if your information is used improperly. Debit cards typically do not have the same level of protection. A related tip is to use a separate credit card only for your digital transactions. While this won’t prevent theft, it will limit your exposure and make online fraud easier to detect.

3. Use apps from known, reputable sources.

Less reputable apps can include malicious software ("malware") designed to steal credit cards and other sensitive information. Get yours from an official store and keep your apps up to date.

4. Don't respond to pop-ups or unsolicited texts. 

Ignore pop-up offers and deals sent to you via text. Just delete them and don’t respond, click on any links, or call any phone numbers. Similarly, don’t respond to popups saying that you need to buy anti-virus software or software to “clean your infected computer.” These are all scams.

5. Secure your devices.

Use a six digit pin or biometric (fingerprint or facial scan) and set a timeout that locks your devices after a period of inactivity. 

6. Don’t use public Wi-Fi

When you’re on public Wi-Fi, never access anything private. Accessing sports scores? Cool. Accessing your bank account? Not so much. If you use a business's Wi-Fi, make sure to ask the owner for the exact name and password of the network.