Expert talks Black Friday, online safety this holiday season

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – You may not be alone shopping this holiday season, scam artists may be right by your side.

Blade Technologies Scott Schaffer shares different ways you could be ripped off while gift buying.

In Person:

1. Public WiFi
a. Internet hotspots offered by coffee shops, libraries, restaurants, etc. are convenient but are also vulnerable.
b. Criminals can set up fake hotspots that look just like the “real” wireless network.
c. Use your 4G/LTE network via your smartphone.
d. If you can’t wait until you get home, consider purchasing a VPN service.

2.Skimmers on ATMs, gas pumps, etc.
a. Criminals use these to capture data from the magnetic strip on the back of credit or debit card.
b. The devices are small and are placed in or over the top of the card reader.

3. Don’t flash the credit card.
a. A criminal can easily shoulder surf to get your account information.


1.Be draconian about passwords.
a. Use a different password for each site.
b. Don’t let the browser store passwords for you.
c. Consider using a password manager instead of writing down all your passwords manually.

2. Look for proof of security.
a. Always look for the https prefix in the URL and the padlock icon or other indicator in the browser’s status bar.

3. Use Credit over Debit, if your credit card provider offers purchase protections, such as extended warranties, etc.
a. Consider one-time use credit card numbers if your provider supports them.

4. Make sure that your anti-malware and firewall software are up-to-date.