Healthy Habits for Shopping, Banking & Gaming

This month’s topic is shopping, banking and gaming online. We’re betting you do at least one, maybe two (and if you’re as cool as our students, all three) of these things. To proceed with a dose of cyber-mindfulness, let’s start with a quick refresher about “Personally Identifiable Information” (or “PII”).

What is PII?
Personally identifiable information is information specific to an individual that you don’t want floating around freely in the cybersphere: social security numbers, credit card numbers, banking info, your mother’s maiden name . . . if it could be used to fake your identity or take your money, it’s PII.

Shopping and banking in particular rely on you sending some of your PII online. And that’s ok - as long as you’re paying attention. To that end, here are some tips for shopping, banking and gaming online:

Tips for shopping, banking and gaming online:

  • Make sure all transactions happen on secure websites - identified by an “https” prefix and that green padlock icon we keep talking about:
  • Exercise caution if you see an offer where the discount is way below normal (the bad guys know we're price sensitive when shopping online).
  • Check your credit card transactions regularly (even daily) for unusual charges, especially small amounts.
  • Use a strong passwords for bank accounts, credit card accounts, etc.
  • If you’re shopping or banking away from home, use your mobile phone network rather than public wi-fi (remember what we talked about last month?).
  • Gaming? Beware messages that ask you to click something. Much like phishing emails, online games can trigger potentially malicious links and downloads.
  • Keep your device’s software and operating system up-to-date (i.e. keep a clean machine)

Shopping for More Useful Tips? You Can Bank on These.

Shopping: OUCH! Newsletter: Shopping Online Securely (pdf)
Banking: The FDIC’s tips for Safe Internet Banking
Gaming: OUCH! Newsletter: Gaming Online Safely & Securely (pdf)