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In Depth: Buyer Beware

December 14, 2017 06:28 PM

For the first time ever, American shoppers expect to spend more money online than in physical stores this holiday season.  But have you ever really thought about how safe your online shopping habits are? Or do you just assume no one will be able to steal your credit card information.

NewsChannel 13 sat down with Adam Dean who works for GreyCastle, a computer security company headquartered in Troy. He showed us how easy it is to leave the door open to get your credit card information stolen, and how easy it is for a criminal to buy it.  Dean says step one to preventing that is making a long strong password...you can actually remember.

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"Slippery purple helicopter, you know, is a great password," said Dean.

Dean watched as a NewsChannel13 reporter went through his Christmas shopping list.

"So the very first mistake that you're making is using a Windows computer," said Dean.

It got off to a rocky start.

"I don't think I see any antivirus there either," said Dean.

If you're using Windows. You need anti virus. Otherwise, clicking on a link in your email could get malware installed on your computer. The software could steal all the data you put into other websites. Including credit card info.

When visiting a website to buy something, Dean says you should look for a little green lock icon near your address bar. That means the website is secure.

"The data that you're transferring to them and they're transferring back to you is secure, so when you put in your credit card information someone in the middle can't steal it," said Dean.

But what if the website gets hacked? Dean prefers to buy stuff online from bigger companies that can afford security teams, but even those get hacked.

He says ideally you should check out as a guest every time. So the company doesn't save your credit card info.

"Let's be honest, even I store my credit card information on Amazon. You just got to realize that you're accepting a certain amount of risk," said Dean

Here's where your credit card information could go: The Dark Web

Dean used a different browser to get us to a place you can't find on google.

This website sells 100 credit cards for 150 bucks. They claim they have more stolen accounts than they could ever use.

"Some of those viruses will take credit card information you entered online and will gather them all up and are able to sell those," said Dean.

Now that you know how easy it is to trade stolen credit card info. The last step is going through your credit card statements, or setting up spending alerts, to look for weird charges.  

Dean warns that no one is 100 percent safe when shopping online. But taking a few precautions can make it a lot tougher on a cyber grinch.

 

Credits

WNYT Staff

Copyright 2017 - WNYT-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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