Protect Your Personal Data While Shopping Online

CHICAGO – Cyber Monday will kick off the online holiday shopping season in just a few days, but consumers should keep cyber security in mind, and businesses should take extra precautions to protect their customers’ personal information, according to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI).

Cyber Monday sales hit $6.6 billion in 2017, and large numbers of consumers are expected to shop online again this year, which gives cyber criminals a big opportunity to strike.

“As cyber attacks increase, everyone needs to monitor their cyber risk,” said Alex Hageli, director of personal lines policy at PCI. “Whenever you purchase or sell something online, there’s always the potential to become a victim of a cyber crime. As more and more personal information is shared and stored online, it’s more important than ever to protect yourself from cyber threats.”

Insurers offer a variety of products to manage cyber risk and liability. “It’s always a good idea to reach out to your insurance company or agent to discuss policy options for cyber security. Insurance can help protect consumers from identity theft and help protect businesses from liability and damages involved with data breaches and cyber attacks,” said Hageli.

PCI also offers the following additional tips to help consumers and businesses protect themselves from falling victim to cyber crimes.

Online Safety Tips for Businesses

  • Put appropriate security measures in place to protect your customers’ personally identifiable information.
  • Install antivirus software or firewalls to prevent hackers from infiltrating your website.
  • Make sure and update your antivirus software.
  • Test e-commerce mechanisms through the entire purchase process.
  • Confirm that third-party vendors also have proper security measures in place.

Online Safety Tips for Shoppers

  • Shop only on sites of trusted vendors.
  • Avoid shopping on unsecure or public wireless networks.
  • Install and update security software on your computer.
  • Use a credit card instead of a debit card to make transactions.
  • Never provide your social security number.
  • Open only trusted links and attachments.
  • Turn your computer off when it’s not in use.
  • Change your passwords often.