Protect Yourself from Hackers and Identity Thieves as You Shop Online this Holiday Season

Holiday shopping can be fun or bring many mixed emotions and organized chaos. With all the online deals, it’s no secret that millions of consumers are looking to buy gifts for their loved ones at their favorite retailers online.

Choose secure passwords – yes we mean plural. Creating strong passwords is one of the easiest ways to protect your identity online. You should use a combination of numbers, upper and lower-case letters, as well as symbols. Passwords should not include any personal information that can be easily guessed (i.e., last name, surname, pet’s name, etc.) And your password should NEVER include any combination of digits from your social security number. Lastly, you should use different passwords across personal accounts, online retailers and work, that way if a hacker breaks one password they don’t have total access into your life.

Make sure your computer is protected. Before jumping online and buying a brand new TV or those concert tickets your niece has been begging for, make sure your anti-virus/anti-malware programs are not only installed, but are currently up-to-date. Also, make sure your wireless network is password-protected and set to “no broadcast” so outsiders can’t easily access your network.

Always use credit for online purchases, not debit. More protections exist for credit cards, and credit card companies generally resolve fraud claims in favor of the consumer. So, it can be wise to use credit cards for online purchases. However, keep in mind when using credit cards, to constantly review your accounts for any unauthorized use and report unusual activity if your bank doesn’t flag it automatically.

Make sure your connection is secure. Any time you’re visiting an online retailer, and want to make a purchase, check the left-hand side of the web address in your browser. If there is a green lock icon and the word “Secure” before “https:” then your information, like passwords and credit card numbers, is private when sent to the site.

Follow these 4 tips this Holiday Shopping Season and you’ll be better protected for all of your online shopping!

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