With the holiday season upon us, it’s time to start making your shopping lists. If you prefer to avoid large crowds and busy traffic, you probably do the bulk of your holiday shopping online. While this definitely makes your life easier, the sensitive information you share could expose you to online risks like identity theft. That’s why we’ve gathered some important tips so you can stay secure online during holiday shopping.
Ensure your WiFi connection is safe and secure.
Shopping on the go is tempting during the holiday season. But remaining cautious when using free WiFi is important. When you connect to WiFi in airports, cafes, hotels, or department stores, others could access your information. This could spell trouble, especially if you’re inputting your credit card information to make purchases. It’s better to wait until you have a secure connection, like at home, to buy anything.
If you can’t pass up a deal in the moment, consider using a VPN. A virtual private network creates an encrypted connection that makes your data safer from nearby hackers.
Avoid suspicious retailers.
When you see deals on social media or in your email that seem too good to be true, they probably are. During the holiday season, scammers set up websites designed to attract bargain hunters. If you visit a website you aren’t familiar with and you can’t find information or reviews about it, avoid the risk. It’s better to buy your gifts elsewhere than risk having your identity stolen.
Be cautious when opening emails.
When you receive holiday deals from unknown senders, it could be a phishing attempt. If you click on the link, you may be redirected to a fake website that was built to capture your personal information. Email spam may seem harmless, but clicking on links or downloading files from unknown sources could result in identity theft. If you don’t know the sender or the email contains typos, spelling mistakes, or grammatical errors, it’s best to just delete it.
Ensure your devices and apps are up to date.
It’s important to always make sure you are running the latest version of the apps you have downloaded and your device’s operating system. This helps avoid security holes, which prevents malware from sneaking on to your device.
Be aware of identity theft and keep an eye on your credit.
If a criminal obtains your financial information, you may not know it right away. Be sure to closely monitor your bank accounts and keep an eye on your credit information. Some institutions offer text or email alerts if there’s suspicious activity on your account.
Continue to follow us as we provide our readers with resources on securing their information online. When your information is protected, you can enjoy the holiday season and make the most of the time you have with family and friends.