How to Safely Shop Online and Protect Your Identity This Holiday Season
The holiday shopping season is upon us, and this one is shaping up to be very different given the global COVID-19 pandemic. With many people likely to stay away from brick-and-mortar stores and swap real shopping carts for virtual ones, e-commerce and online shopping will likely be more prominent than ever before.
Identity Theft Protection Tips While Holiday Shopping
As exciting as it is to purchase gifts for you and your loved ones this holiday season, remember that scammers are getting excited, too. Every transaction gives fraudsters an opening and it’s important to be aware of the risks while taking steps to protect yourself. Here are some tips to keep your information safe and prevent identity theft during the holidays:
Protect Your Email Against Phishing
Receive a great deal in your inbox from your favorite retailer? If it seems too good to be true, it likely is. Instead of clicking on the ad or link in your inbox, go to the retailer’s website first. Scammers often send links that look real but instead send you to fake pages where your information can be stolen. Don’t fall for their tricks. Learn how to spot a phishing scam
Be Careful Where You Shop Online
Shop on reputable websites you already trust. Look for 'https' in the address bar. The “s” means the site is secure.
When shopping at a new store online, always check independent reviews before you make a purchase.
Secure Your Passwords
While a good password is one of the best lines of defense against scammers, many compromised accounts can be traced back to a weak password
. Protect yourself by doing the following:
- Make your passwords long and complex. Incorporate upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols.
- Never use the same password for multiple accounts. If you do, a hacker has access to everything once they’ve cracked your password once.
Review Credit Card and Bank Statements
Check your credit cards and bank statements frequently over the holiday season and into January for fraudulent charges. Keep track of what you bought and contact your bank right away if you notice anything suspicious. Be sure to shred your paper statements
if they are printed.
Avoid Public Wi-Fi
Thinking of making a purchase over free public Wi-Fi? Think twice. Remember that hackers can use the same public networks to steal your information. Only use Wi-Fi networks you trust when making online purchases.
Shred Sensitive Documents
Always securely destroy paper documents like receipts, mail, shipping labels, and even greeting cards that contain sensitive information. You don’t want any of your personal details falling into the wrong hands.
The holiday season can be busy and stressful enough without having to worry about scammers trying to take advantage of you. By following these tips, you can rest easy and focus on your loved ones knowing your information is secure. Take care, be safe, and stay healthy this holiday season.
Protect Your Data with Shred-it
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