COOS BAY — Coos Bay Police released an advisory checklist for internet shoppers to make the public aware that there are cyber criminals out there who are looking to take advantage of those taking advantage of online deals.

Each year, more people choose to fight long lines by getting their holiday shopping done online. According to the research done by Coos Bay Police, at least half of all online purchases will be on a cell phone or tablet. With that in mind, the police department thought it would helpful to put together a checklist to keep people safe.

  • It can be difficult keeping track of all the passwords for all the services we use online, but first tip offered is that you use different passwords for frequently visited sites. CBPD feels this is especially important because of the Equifax data breech that happened recently.
  • Secondly make sure the devices you’re using have up-to-date software, and the recommended security software and settings.  
  • It is better to use a credit card for online purchases than a debit card. Federal laws that govern credit card purchases offer more protection than laws that govern debit card purchases. Also, if your credit card is used fraudulently you’re not out any money, whereas a debit card purchase comes straight out of your account. You simply report the fraudulent charge on your credit card to your bank, and they take care of the rest.  
  • Public Wi-Fi is not as secure as private Wi-Fi, and you should avoid using public Wi-Fi for making purchases at all costs.
  • Be careful of ads on social media sites. Investigate the business before you click on a link or attachment.
  • Take caution if you see pop up adds that offer huge Black Friday savings, as these may be an attempt at phishing.
  • If available, enable 2-factor authentication for your apps.
  • If you’re using a cellphone or mobile device to make a purchase, use the businesses’ application instead of your browser. Apps designed by businesses are often more secure.
  • Some websites offer their own security, which is illustrated by a padlock at the beginning of the address bar. Also make sure the website address you’re purchasing from begins with 'https://'

If a warning about a site's security certificate appears on a site you are visiting, don't provide your personal or financial information to that site.

  • Purchase from businesses that you know are legitimate.
  • Carefully review your bank and credit card statements for any suspicious activity. If you do find something notify your bank or credit card company immediately.
  • Lastly, make sure you remove all personal and financial information from old devices before discarding them.