It can never be said too often as many consumers forget this old adage:
Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) December 15, 2006
Criminals around the world are stealing credit card information, bank account passwords and other sensitive or personal information in greater numbers than ever before. Chances are they are utilizing tools easily found on the Web that allows them to spy on the surfing habits of hundreds of thousands of unsuspecting consumers.
Antivirus and security software, like that offered by CyberDefender Corporation, can help lower the risks of Internet identity theft exponentially. However, other scams, such as e-mail phishing scams, the random attempt to obtain account numbers and passwords by criminals masquerading as legitimate businesses, are more difficult to protect against and requires good judgment by the consumer.
With Web merchants predicted to ring up sales worth $24.3 billion during the upcoming holiday season, according to eMarketer, a 22.1 percent growth over last year, it is clear that more and more consumers are turning to the Internet to do their shopping. While the Internet may help consumers shop faster and easier, it can also pose dangerous potential for consumers who aren't careful, making computer Internet security a must.
"Consumers shopping online typically have higher incomes and are thus more attractive targets for Internet scam artists," said Patrick Hinojosa, chief technology officer, CyberDefender Corporation. "Internet criminals and ID thieves are well aware that during this time of the year people are more distracted. They are focusing on one thing and one thing only -- getting their gift."
To help consumers protect themselves while shopping online this holiday season and year round, CyberDefender Corporation, offers new advice to ensure online shopping is a happy experience.
- Don't shop online while using an unencrypted or open wireless network. Hackers and thieves can use your open/unencrypted or a store's wireless network to break into your computer and capture your financial information.
- Secure your computer before shopping online. Before connecting to the Internet or shopping online, take the following three core protections: 1) Install anti-virus and anti-spyware programs and keep them up to date; 2) Install a firewall; 3) Regularly update operating software.
- Know who you're dealing with. Before shopping online with an unknown e-store, check out the seller and be sure to get the name and physical address of the seller in case something goes wrong. If you're buying gifts on an online auction site, check the track record of the seller before you bid.
- Don't give away your financial information to unsecured websites. Make sure when providing payment information, the beginning of the Web site URL address changes from http to https, indicating that the purchase is encrypted or secured.
- Protect personal information with common sense and the best Internet security tools and technology. Be suspicious if someone unexpectedly asks for personal information. Identity thieves send out bogus emails about problems with consumers' accounts to lure them into divulging personal information. Consider using multi-factor authentication services when offered by online retailers as a way to secure your information.
- When buying items from a web site or a catalog, check whether the company has an operating customer service number (preferably toll free), and lists an actual street address of its business. A company operating on a "fly by night" basis is more likely than legitimate companies to have no working telephone number or to list only a P.O. Box as its address.
- Print and save all verifications sent to you by on-line retailers from which you ordered merchandise or services.
- If you are not familiar with the seller or the web site, do some research. You can contact the Better Business Bureau in the state where the company is located (by telephone or at bbb.com), and investigate the number and nature of complaints against the seller. Sometimes, a basic Internet search will reveal an actual chat room or web site (commonly called "gripe-sites") on which civic-minded fellow consumers have posted complaints warning of a company's practices.
- Be particularly wary of vendors at on-line auctions selling "hot" kids' items. During 1999, for instance, there was a flood of victims who were scammed with offers for the year's popular "beanie babies" dolls. In 2000, similar scam artists advertised the Sony PlayStation 2, but did not deliver.
- When shopping at online auctions, consider safeguarding yourself by purchasing "escrow" protection, available through many auction services. Such protection, which often costs a small percentage of the purchase price, guarantees that no money is released to the vendor until you have actually received the product you purchased. Do not rely completely on the auction site's "user feedback" to evaluate whether you should trust the seller. While occasionally helpful, these statements are easy to manufacture and usually will not identify any instances in which a cyber-thief scammed victims using other User ID's or names.
"It can never be said too often as many consumers forget this old adage: "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is," Hinojosa concluded.
About CyberDefender Corporation (http://www.cyberdefender.com)
CyberDefender Corporation is a privately-held company headquartered in Los Angeles, California. The first company to provide early warning and defense against Internet attacks using a secure high-speed client-to-client relay network, CyberDefender's technology and PC security applications provide an early line of defense against spyware, viruses, phishing and other threats.
CyberDefender began operations in August 2003 and its earlier products have been downloaded by over 12 million consumers. CyberDefender's products using the early detection technology include the CyberDefender Security Toolbar™ (free anti phishing protection) and CyberDefender AntiSpyware 2006™(free spyware removal), with a new line of Early Detection Center™ (EDC) security products slated for release Q1, 2007.
Carolina Sanabria, PR Manager
12121 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 350
Los Angeles, California. 90025
Tel: 310.826.1781; Fax: 310.826.1635
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