NewsPhoenix Metro NewsCentral Phoenix News


Avoid cybercriminals while shopping online; learn about cybersecurity with free classes

Posted at 5:42 AM, Nov 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-16 07:50:08-05

Cybercriminals are ready to take advantage of holiday shoppers which is why security experts say you need to take precautions.

Michael Cocanower with itSynergy offered the following tips: 

  • Update all the software on your devices (computers, wireless router, software programs, cell-phone, apps, anti-virus software) 
  • Don’t click on links in emails - instead go to the company’s website directly 
  • Double check great deals on off-beat websites (they could be a scam) 
  • Make sure you use a credit card not debit card  
  • Change your password for each retailer (remember long and complex) 
  • Make sure website is secure (padlock, or https) 
  • Shop online at home on secure WiFi 

Cocanower says often times business have not secured the free wireless internet they offer to customers.

“If you’re using a public WiFi at a coffee shop or something like that you really need to think twice especially since that could be compromised.”

Cocanower says consumers also need to be aware that cybercriminals will send emails that look like they are from a real company. However, clicking on it can give the cybercriminal access to your computer. 

“They're very good at creating a page that looks exactly like Amazon or like your bank’s website,” said Cocanower. “The way to way to fix that is to type in the web address yourself and never click on a link.”

Cocanower offers a free webinar at 11:30 a.m. on the second Thursday of every month with useful tips to ward off cyberattacks and cybercriminals.

The next class will be on ATM Security. Here's their description of the class:


December 14 – ATM Security 

Out shopping for the holidays?  Decided to stop at an ATM for a bit of extra cash?  How can you protect yourself from getting hacked at the ATM?  Join us to learn how to leave the ATM with just cash, and not as the victim of a newly stolen identity or theft victim whose accounts will shortly be trained of cash. 

  • • What techniques do criminals use at an ATM to 'get you'?  
  • • What happens once your information has been stolen from a compromised ATM?  
  • • Learn what to look for when approaching/using an ATM to help ensure it hasn't been compromised  
  • • Understand how to select an ATM with the lowest probability of criminal exploit  

For more information, call itSynergy at 602-297-2400 or visit