Cybercrime & the Holidays: Safeguarding Your Holiday Shopping Experience

by Geek Squad Agent on ‎11-07-2012 06:34 PM (19,911 Views)

Fret not – we’ve got a few helpful tips to help you shop safely.


  • Safeguard Your Devices: Using your mobile device to make purchases is a quick, easy way to get ahead of the game. If you plan to shop on the go, take the proper security precautions:
    • Make sure you only shop from reputable retailers. Double-check the web address before sending any website your financial information.
    • Don’t use an open wireless network to shop online. Some smartphones may default to an open wireless network when available rather than using up the data from your data plan. “Open” wireless networks do not require a password for access and are not secure.
    • Lock your device with a master password. You should always password-protect your device if you are using your credit card to make purchases Having your device locked with a password will help prevent anyone else from accessing the account or credit card information you have stored there. As always, make sure you choose a password that attackers won’t guess (no birthdays or addresses!)
  • Secure Your Computer and Network: Help prevent unauthorized access to your PC or laptop from the Internet by installing proper firewall software. Firewalls can help secure your PC while you surf the Web. They help protect your personal information and can help block that information from being openly transmitted over the Web. Be careful though…configuring a firewall can be tricky, and improperly doing so can mess up your Web access. Be sure to configure your wireless network to use a password to help make sure your personal and financial information is safe on your home network.

  • Avoid Spam: With the increasing popularity of online shopping, spam has become more and more of a problem. Spammers can masquerade as legitimate businesses as a way to trick you into giving them valuable personal or financial information. Here are some steps you can take to keep from becoming a victim of spam:

    • Do a quick, free diagnostic scan for spyware and viruses by going toour web site’s Self-Help section.
    • Do not open an e-mail or click on a link from someone you do not know. If you see a strange attachment from someone you do know, call or email them to see if they actually sent it.
    • When in doubt, retype a website yourself if someone sends it to you.
    • Install reputable anti-spyware and anti-virus software.
    • Make sure your computer’s operating system is up to date.
  • Update Passwords: If the sites you’re shopping on require you to register, create a strong password. (For more on creating secure passwords, read this article in the Self-Help section of our website.)

    • Treat your password like the key to your front door. Pick a strong password, and don’t share it with others, or write it down.
    • Never use a personal nickname, pet name, birth date, address, or other public information as your password. This information is surprisingly easy to find.
    • Never use whole words you find in the dictionary.
    • Use different passwords for different websites.
    • 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: NEVER store your credit card or other personal information on websites. As convenient as it might seem, allowing someone else to store this vital information could make it vulnerable to hackers and scam artists. If you’re addicted to the time saving advantage that storing your card information provides, use cards with a low credit limit, and make sure your account has online fraud protection for increase security.

  • Guard Your Gear: Beware of wandering eyes! If you’re browsing in any public place, keep an eye out for people seated nearby who might try to read your screen. You may want to consider investing in a privacy screen or filter, which fits easily over your computer’s screen, and can be found in all shapes and sizes. Never leave your laptop unattended in a public place.

For more tips on how to shop safely and securely, call 1.800.GEEK SQUAD to set up an onsite consultation. Need more help? Consider contacting a Geek Squad Agent at 1-800 GEEK SQUAD, on our website at, or stop by a Precinct at a Best Buy store near you. (With Geek Squad’s Tech Support for AARP Members, you are even eligible for a discount on in-home technology services.)


Geek Squad is there for you: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year for help with all your technology needs.

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