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Coronavirus Brings More Shopping And Fraud Into Your Home

Published: May 2, 2020 on our newsletter Security Fraud News & Alerts Newsletter.

It’s not a bad guess that your online purchasing has spiked in the last couple of weeks. After all, we are social distancing, but becoming pretty close to our digital devices. According to TransUnion, since the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a worldwide pandemic in early March, e-commerce transactions have increased 23%. It isn’t likely to decrease for the foreseeable future. And with that, fraudsters are in high gear and using the coronavirus to lure shoppers to their phony websites.

TransUnion surveyed 1,068 Americans and found that 22% were targeted by coronavirus related digital fraud. In addition, there was a 347% increase in account takeovers and a 391% increase in shipping fraud against customers who shopped online from 2018 to 2019.

Why are e-commerce accounts being targeted so much? Think about all of the information that is stored in those accounts—payment card numbers, addresses, phone numbers, physical addresses, purchase information, etc. That’s a lot of data for a fraudster to use or sell.

Use caution storing information in your accounts. Yes, it’s a lot more convenient to store the payment card in the account for one-click shopping, but it’s not so secure to do that. Instead, enter the details in each time you make a purchase. This will prevent a hacker from collecting that information should one break into the retailer’s site and access the accounts. It’s always a good idea to store as little in the online accounts as possible. It may take a bit more time to complete your purchase, but it could save you a lot of time in remediation should that information get stolen.

Also, make sure every password is unique to each online account. It should be at least eight characters and include:

  • Upper and lowercase letters

  • At least one number

  • At least one special character

  • A combination of characters that is not easy to guess and does not include confidential or private information.

The TransUnion report also found other interesting tidbits of information including 78% of all e-commerce transactions being from mobile devices. In addition, risky transactions from mobile devices rose by 118% over the 2018 figure. This is a stark reminder to take care when doing online transactions, but especially when using mobile devices. Don’t rush those purchases. Take some time to review them, ensure the website addresses are legitimate, and that you are not giving your payment information to a bad guy.

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