Holiday hackers often seize the holiday shopping period to perpetrate evil acts like hacking and credit card fraud scams. If you are shopping with your credit card, you can become a victim of these opportunistic thieves. These Holiday Hackers will be in full effect to take advantage of you either through a credit card fraud, phishing link, full-scale identity theft, and several other avenues. If you’ve got a long distance move planned near the holidays, the last thing you need is to become a victim to any holiday scam.
Safe Practices for Online Shopping this Holiday Season
Since looking for bargain deals, discounts, and holiday deals can also increase your chances of falling victim, it’s a good idea to invest a few minutes to read this post. Here are a couple of tips to prevent you from becoming victims of holiday identity theft while shopping online this period.
Use Legitimate and Trusted Sites When Shopping Online
During your holiday shopping, ensure that you are shopping on legitimate and trusted sites. Signs such as “https” in the web address help indicate that a website is secure. There should also be an icon showing a locked padlock on the left side of the website URL.
Furthermore, ensure that the promotional links you receive do not point back to an altered link. This can indicate a phishing scam designed by the holiday hackers to fool you. Entering your personal or credit card information will put you at risk. This may be used to compromise your identity. However, by shopping on trusted e-commerce sites, you can avoid holiday identity theft.
Patronize Familiar Retailers
It is advisable to patronize familiar retailers during your online shopping. If reputable e-commerce sites like Amazon, Best Buy, and Target offer a particular product within a similar amount, but another retailer you hardly know offers the same product at a lesser price, you need to be careful.
Competitors are always checking each other’s prices. Popular holiday items usually go for similar prices among reputable online retailers. Some fraudulent companies can advertise the same product at a ridiculously low price to sway you. Unbelievably low prices are a red flag. Hence, patronizing familiar retailers is an excellent way to prevent identity theft.
Use a Secure Network
Anytime you shop online, avoid making use of a public Wi-Fi connection. Your personal information including your Social Security Number, driver’s license number, and credit card numbers are transmitted over the internet. An insecure network makes you vulnerable to holiday identity theft.
What’s more, you can make your network secure by installing or using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Once you connect to a public Wi-Fi, the installed VPN will direct all your activities online through a secure, private network. With this, you can be sure that your personal information is kept safe while you surf the internet.
Be Careful Of the Information You Share Online
Furthermore, try as much as possible to be cautious about the kind of information you share online. Sharing confidential information such as the name of your children, their date of births, holiday plans, and so on can attract these opportunistic thieves. You are only providing them with access to valuable information. This will assist them in hacking into your online accounts. They will also know when you will be out of town, thus, breaking into your property.
Pay with Credit Card or Secured Payment Sites Like PayPal
Credit cards are more secure and offer more protection against fraudulent activities than debit cards. These credit card companies often monitor suspicious activities. Thus, they are able to stop fraudulent charges once detected.
On the other hand, debit cards offer less protection against fraud scams. Holiday hackers can use your debit card to withdraw money from your account immediately. As a result, try as much as possible to make your payments with a credit card or by using PayPal which protects the seller and buyer alike.
Update Your Passwords
As a matter of fact, even the simplest security measure matters. Ensure that you update or change your password during the holiday season. This may be all you need to do to prevent a crook from taking control of your account. You should consider changing your password or PIN number if you:
- Notice suspicious activity on your account
- Suspect that an individual you do not trust has your password
- Observe anything suspicious in your online accounts including your email
- Have removed malware or virus from your system recently
Be on the lookout for the above signs. Remember, changing your password only requires a few procedures. This will save you from becoming a victim of holiday identity theft.
Don’t Fall Victim to ‘Phishing’
During the holiday season, scammers are more active. You can anticipate an exponential increase in the amount of email traffic about deals, offers, online orders, and deliveries. Unless you are contacting the company directly, never give out your personal information online.
For instance, it is safe to order online from a reputable retailer. However, if you get an email asking you to visit another site to provide your personal information, you should sense a scam. Remember, your computer security software may not be able to protect you from clicking the phishing links or authentic-looking emails.
Use Protection Tools
Another essential identity theft prevention tip is by making use of protection tools. These include:
- Identity protection software
- Enroll in an identity theft protection company plan
- Use new chip cards that add an extra layer of protection
These identity theft protection tools will help keep you safe from these holiday hackers.
Check Your Statements and Credit Reports
Finally, always check your credit reports and credit card statements regularly. Like the holiday season when there is high-volume shopping, ask your bank or credit card company for your statement. Inquire about any suspicious activity and remain vigilant. With this, you can promptly detect any identity theft attempt before it escalates.
There you have it! Above are a couple of tips to help protect you against holiday Identity theft. Holiday hackers will be in full effect to take advantage of you as you shop online during the holiday e-commerce season. By following the tips provided above, you can prevent yourself from becoming an identity theft victim.