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It’s another Saturday afternoon during lockdown, and you’re back on Amazon, filling your cart with household items and groceries. You haven’t been able to make your typical Target and Walmart runs lately, so you’re stocking up virtually instead.
Online shopping: everyone does it so it’s pretty harmless, right? Well, not always. Fraud is a possibility any time you shop online, according to Experian. And during a worldwide pandemic or even the holiday season, you’re especially vulnerable to hackers, phishers, and identity thieves. Covid-related fraud has already robbed a cumulative $13.4 million from unsuspecting Americans, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
That’s because so many people are shopping online at once, and are distracted from their normal routines, says cyber security expert and CyberScout founder Adam Levin. “People are trying to juggle working from home, homeschooling, applying for unemployment, looking for their stimulus checks” in addition to all that late-night shopping, he told Yahoo Life. “You have enormous vulnerability. Scammers now know that they can use all of these different avenues.”
But here’s the thing: you can and should shop safely online without fear of getting your identity or any of your sensitive information stolen. It’s actually pretty easy to protect yourself. It’s all about investing in the right cyber security tools. Here are five essential tools for anyone who shops online.
1. Strong Security Software
Strong security software is a must for preventing viruses, ransomware and malware attacks while you’re jumping from one online store to another, snapping up sales. You might not even know you’re on a malicious website, but they can secretly steal your personal information or even overtake your entire device, according to software leader Norton.
The company has a solution for…