Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Stop. Think. Connect. Are You Aware of This Campaign?
Today I want to cover the Stop. Think. Connect. Campaign being run by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Not many people are aware of the campaign, which is counterproductive to why it was initiated in the first place. As a leader on Twitter for being a Homeland Security resource, I thought it would be a good idea to update everyone on what exactly this campaign is.
According to the National Retail Federation, 141 million people spent $57.4 billion dollars during Thanksgiving weekend last year, and consumers spent nearly $600 billion during the 2013 holiday season. The biggest shopping season of the year comes with great deals and benefits to shoppers, but it also comes with certain risks.
Stop. Think. Connect. Is an online security campaign, which ties into how much money people are spending online. The DHS launched the campaign to help consumers shop safely and keep their personal information and financial accounts private. The campaign offers tips on how to do this, some of which I have noted below;
1. Use and maintain anti-virus software and a firewall. Protect yourself against viruses and Trojan horses that may steal or modify the data on your computer and leave you vulnerable.
2. Beware of deals that sound too good to be true. Use caution when opening email attachments and don’t follow web links included in unsolicited email messages. Watch out for extremely low prices on hard-to-get holiday items. If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.
3. Keep a record of your order. Retain all documentation of your online orders in the event that your purchase does not ship or there are unauthorized charges on your credit or debit card. Also, be sure to review your credit card statement each month for irregularities.
4. Get savvy about Wi‐Fi hotspots. Limit the type of business you conduct when using public Wi-Fi networks. Avoid shopping online when using public Wi-Fi as your information can easily be accessed by hackers on a public network.
5. Shop on reliable websites. Take a look at the website’s trademark or logo to make sure it’s valid. Also, pay attention to the website’s URL. Malicious websites may look identical to a legitimate website, but the URL may use a variation in spelling or a different domain (e.g., .com vs. .net).
Since our social media culture is so 24/7, we often forget that (like the real world) bad people exist. Don’t allow yourself to become vulnerable during this holiday shopping season- or anytime. Follow the tips noted above and connect with the DHS directly for more information on the Stop. Think. Connect. Campaign.
Twyla N. Garrett