While social distancing, we have grown to rely on our digital devices for almost everything. To no one’s surprise, online purchasing has spiked in the last couple of weeks.
According to TransUnion, since the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a worldwide pandemic in early March, online commerce transactions have increased by 23%. Since online transactions won’t be slowing down any time soon, fraudsters are taking advantage.
TransUnion surveyed 1,068 Americans and found that 22% were targeted by coronavirus related digital fraud. Also, there was a 347% increase in account hacks and a 391% increase in shipping and handling fraud.
Why are online commerce accounts being targeted so often? The answer is simple – because shoppers store loads of personal information in their online accounts such as card number, address, phone number, family addresses, purchase information, etc. That’s a lot of precious data that fraudsters would love to get their hands on.
To prevent your personal information from being compromised, use caution when storing your details in online accounts. Better yet, don’t save any information in online shopping accounts. Or, opt to check out as a guest, which is safer than keeping your personal details stored.
Although not as convenient, withholding your information could prevent fraudsters from collecting your information when they hack into a retailer’s website. Since your information is not saved, it will take more time to complete your purchase, but that small amount of time could keep you from becoming a victim of cybercrime.
Also, make sure every password is unique to each online account. Passwords should be at least eight characters and include:
- Upper and lowercase letters
- At least one number and one special character
- A passphrase with punctuation and capitalization
- Don't make passwords easy to guess
- Don't use common words
- Don't include personal information such as your birthday or pets' names, which are easy to find on social media
The TransUnion report also found other interesting tidbits of information, including 78% of all online commerce transactions are completed from a mobile device. So, be mindful when conducting online transactions, especially from a smartphone or tablet.
Don’t rush when you’re making online purchases. Choose not to save your information, and take your time to review your order. Carelessness could land your personally identifiable information in the hands of a fraudster.