Cyber Monday Survivor’s Guide

November 22, 2018

The holiday season is here, and for most of us, that means spending time with friends and family, enjoying good food, and getting some time off of work. This time is also the unofficial kick-off to the holiday season with record high sales expected across the retail industry. IBM recently projected retail sales growth of 4.83%, up from 4.2% in 2017, driven by consumer trust remaining high and favorable weather forecast.

This time of the year also signals a boost in retail fraud efforts.

A new study from ACI Worldwide projects a 14% increase in total retail fraud attempts and a 17% increase in value this year compared to 2017. They expect the most targeted day to be Thanksgiving Day, where the total volume of transactions is expected to increase by 23%, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday being close behind at a 19% and 14% increase respectively.

OWI has several helpful tips for consumers to help combat the increase in fraud activity:

  1. Stay away from Public Wifi:  Transmissions over public wifi are generally not encrypted, making them a popular attack vector for fraudsters to intercept identity data. As such, make sure to use private networks or pay for the mobile data
  2. Multi-factor biometrics or at mix-it-up: Try to use additional biometric authentication steps to increase the transaction security level. The process might be a little annoying, but it is worth the effort! If biometrics are not for you, at least make a new email account and password combination for each of the merchants that you transact with to limit the potential impact of a fraud attack.
  3. Set-up Credit Monitoring: Make sure to turn on automated transaction monitoring alerts for potential fraud activity. Having to confirm several good transactions is much easier than having to deal with identity fraud after the fact.
  4. Check for secure transaction icons: We all know that feeling of finding the perfect gift for someone on Amazon and then realizing it is out of stock. In a moment of panic, you might check eBay, and then go to the product’s main website and they also don’t have it or even worse, don’t ship to your location. Now you have to decide if the gift is worth venturing on beyond your comfort zone to websites you have never heard of but have the item in stock and ship to your location. If you find yourself in this precarious situation, make sure to check the bottom of the screen for a security icon that confirms a safe transaction.

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