As the holiday shopping season begins, more consumers will be turning to the Internet this year to find special deals and offers in hopes of saving money during this tough economic time. According to Shop.org's recent eHoliday Study, more than half of online retailers expect their holiday sales to increase at least15 percent over last year.*
Although online shopping can be convenient and even cost-effective, there are some dangers that lurk on the Web and the anticipated increase in online shopping sales could entice a cyber criminal to look for their next victim. Comcast, the nation's largest residential broadband Internet service provider, is committed to helping consumers protect themselves from cyber scams and other Internet threats by providing online shopping safety tips for the holiday season.
"In this difficult economy, more people may shop online this holiday season looking for coupons, discounts and better deals so it's important for them to know how to protect their computers from online threats that can compromise personal information and lead to identity theft," said Jay Opperman, Senior Director of Security and Privacy for Comcast.
In order to help secure a computer and personal information, Comcast offers seven quick tips to keep in mind before shopping online this holiday season:
1. "S" means "secure" - When shopping on the Web, be sure you see https:// (the "s" stands for "secure") at the beginning of the URL for any page where you plan to enter financial information. Also, look for a lock or a similar icon at the top or the bottom of the Web page indicating that you are connected to a secure site. When using Internet Explorer version 6 or earlier, the security icon will be at the bottom of the page. When using Internet Explorer version 7, the icon will be at the top of the page.
2. Use anti-virus software and tools - Install active and up-to-date anti-virus software on all computers to detect and remove viruses and keyloggers that can steal customers' identities when using their bank or credit cards online. At no additional cost, Comcast High-Speed Internet customers can download the McAfee® Security Suite which provides a set of tools to help customers keep their home computers safe, protected and virus-free. Comcast customers can also download a Comcast Toolbar at no additional cost, which includes anti-spyware, anti-phishing software, a pop-up blocker and alerts about Web sites that are potentially unsafe.
3. Use anti-phishing software - Phishing is a term used for Internet scammers who imitate legitimate companies in e-mails to entice people to share user names, passwords, social security numbers, bank account information or credit card numbers. Install anti-phishing software to help prevent these kinds of online scams. Most reputable anti-virus programs contain anti-phishing software and alerts that help detect phishing scams.
4. Secure your wireless network - When using a wireless network, always secure it with a password to make sure others cannot access your personal information without your knowledge and permission. Those who are especially vulnerable are individuals who live in apartment buildings or densely populated neighborhoods.
5. Choose a secure password - When a Web site requires a username and password, create a secure password by combining different numbers, letters and symbols. Remember, the longer the password the better. In addition, be sure to log off of a Web site after completing an online transaction. Never allow unauthorized persons access to secret passwords. If they must be written down, keep them well hidden.
6. Above all, be skeptical - The Internet not only presents enormous possibilities, but also serious risks. Make good decisions and use the same common sense in a real-world shopping experience when shopping online at home. If an online offer seems too good to be true, it could be a scam, which is why you should shop from online retailers you trust.
7. Take action immediately - If you suspect identity theft, take action immediately to limit the damage. Contact your credit card company, your bank, all three credit reporting agencies and the police. Close any fraudulent accounts. Change passwords for all of your online accounts and be sure to keep records of all of the actions you have taken.
For more Internet safety tips and resources, visit www.Comcast.net/Security to learn how to increase your security settings and shop safely online this holiday season.
About Comcast Corporation
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) (www.comcast.com) is the nation's leading provider of entertainment, information and communication products and services. With 24.4 million cable customers, 14.7 million high-speed Internet customers, and 6.1 million Comcast Digital Voice customers, Comcast is principally involved in the development, management and operation of broadband cable systems and in the delivery of programming content.
Comcast's content networks and investments include E! Entertainment Television, Style Network, Golf Channel, VERSUS, G4, PBS KIDS Sprout, TV One, ten Comcast SportsNet networks and Comcast Interactive Media, which develops and operates Comcast's Internet businesses, including Comcast.net (www.comcast.net). Comcast also has a majority ownership in Comcast-Spectacor, whose major holdings include the Philadelphia Flyers NHL hockey team, the Philadelphia 76ers NBA basketball team and two large multipurpose arenas in Philadelphia.
* Shop.org, a division of the National Retail Federation, is the world's leading membership community for digital retail. According to results of the 2008 eHoliday Study, conducted by Shopzilla® for Shop.org, more than half of online retailers (56.1%) expect their holiday sales to increase at least 15 percent over last year.