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Experts warn consumers of cybersecurity threats as the holidays approach

Posted at 7:16 PM, Nov 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-16 20:16:05-05

KILLEEN, TX — That too-good-to-be-true offer in your email may be exactly that as the risk of having your financial information stolen is higher than ever with more people resorting to online shopping this holiday season.

With more Americans glued to their screens, hackers are in data heaven and ready to steal your information.

It’s a question we all wonder- why would someone want to hack my stuff? Well, it is a simpler question than you may think.

“The reason people would want to get into your stuff is because you are a proxy that they can launch other attacks from,” said Nathan O’Neal, the owner of Doulos in Waco.

Doulos is an IT company that helps local businesses protect themselves from cyber threats.

But with the holidays creeping up and COVID-19 showing no signs of slowing down, more and more of us are resorting to internet shopping, which creates an online pool hackers are ready to dive into.

“That actually creates a unique environment for the scammers or hackers to kind of steal information,” said Abhijit Nag, an assistant professor of Computer Information Systems at Texas A&M Central Texas. “Through phishing emails they can maybe always trick the people.”

We all get them, those emails with irresistible links just waiting to be clicked on. But experts say it’s the most common way scammers trick people into giving out their information.

“Anything that has a spelling error, anything that has a link in it, I would not click on that,” O’neal said. “The best thing to do is type that direct link into the web browser or to call the company and say, "Hey is this really you?"”

So, how can we make sure the sites we’re using are safe?

”If there is a deal, you can definitely find it on that particular website. It’s not that it's customized only for you,” Nag explained.

“Stay calm, try to check with the company directly and don’t click email until you know for sure,” O’Neal followed.

Both experts say the safest way to shop this year is to never save your passwords, make sure the site you’re on is secure, always check your bank statements and never input information that seems to be unneeded when checking out.