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Safe Cyber Shopping


Defend Your Data while shopping!

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are when most spam, phishing attacks, scams and other malicious campaigns occur. Stay safe over the holidays by following these simple tips!

1. Install, activate and update and your security software.

Each student, employee and faculty member gets three free copies of Kaspersky Internet Security (available on PC, Mac, and Android devices). Learn more at

2. Use strong, unique passwords for each account. Don’t reuse your WVU credentials! 

Keep your WVU credentials separate from your personal credentials. Not only is using separate passwords smart, but it's against WVU's Acceptable Use & Account Management policies to use the same passwords with non-WVU sources. Learn how to create strong passwords at

3. Only connect to legitimate, secure Wi-Fi networks for online shopping. Don’t connect to public, open or unencrypted networks!

“Public Wi-Fi" is inherently unsecure.

4. Make sure it’s the real company website.

Access a legitimate company’s website by typing the company’s information directly into the web browser. Google search results typically filter out illegitimate and scam sites while only displaying the real company sites.

5. Make sure the site is secure.

When paying online, verify that you are on an SSL secured site — the web address will start with "https://" or "shttp://" and typically have a little green padlock icon next to it. Websites that are SSL-secured will encrypt sensitive information such as credit card numbers during the transaction.

6. Avoid using your smartphone to shop online.

If you do not have security software installed and running on your smartphone, you run the very real risk of identity theft when shopping online with your phone.  Use a secure PC as your primary online shopping tool.

7. Beware of deals that are too good to be true. 

The holiday season means some goods and gift cards are hot properties on the market, and cybercriminals will exploit consumers trying to get their hands on them. Gift card scams are epidemic. Ignore any gift card offers in e-mails or in web pop-ups.

8. Use a dummy email account. Do NOT use your WVU email account for personal shopping accounts. 

Many sites require accounts/email logins to use. Set up an additional email account with your internet service provider to be used only for marketing, newsletters or online shopping. Your personal correspondence and information won’t be at risk (and you won’t get as much unwanted spam).

In the case that you do have to use your WVU email account (for instance, a site requires your .edu email address for student discounts), do not use the same password you use for WVU systems or Login.

9. Use only one credit card, and keep track of the activity on it. NEVER use a debit card online.  

Shopping with a debit card online puts your checking and savings account at risk if the information is stolen. Credit cards offer protections that debit cards don’t, and you can dispute charges if needed.

10. Read privacy agreements.  

If you don’t want to increase the chances of your information being accessed online, keep an eye out for websites that sell your information to third parties. Carefully review all privacy agreements and decide for yourself whether you’re willing to click “Agree.”

To avoid having to read hundreds or sometimes thousands of pages of Terms and Conditions or Privacy Policies for the sites you use, visit and search for the site. TOSDR shortens the terms and conditions agreements and privacy policies for popular websites so that you can understand, in plain English, what you are legally bound to when using the website.

If you do think you've become a victim of fraud, contact the Federal Trade Commission and submit a complaint form.