Cyber Monday is upon us! But before you fill a cart with those catchy one-day sales, be aware of seasonal online scams, fraudulent websites and computer hackers. With 2017 holiday season figures projecting a nearly 15% increase in online sales over previous years, it’s more important than ever to educate and proactively defend yourself against identity theft and potentially fraudulent charges. Following some of these simple steps can help you protect your identity and financial information from unauthorized use.
Check Site Security
Trusted and secure sites follow a number of extra security measures that protect your sensitive information. Providing personal information and credit card data to an unprotected website puts individuals at risk of financial fraud and potential identity theft. Unless the website uses HTTPS protocol, or an individual proactively uses a secure web browser or encryption software, it’s possible your financial data and identity information could become compromised.
Avoid Mobile Browsing and Purchasing
Mobile browsers such as those on smartphones, tablets, and other unprotected mobile devices are far less secure than desktop versions or brand-specific applications that utilize built-in or 3rd party security features. Therefore, if you must make a purchase using a mobile device, avoid using the default web browser, or making wireless payments using Near Field Communication such as Android or Apple Pay.
Use Unique Passwords
It goes without saying, passwords are the primary line of defense when it comes to protecting your online accounts, information, and data. If you must make a new online account during your holiday shopping, be sure to use an entirely new password for every account. To protect yourself year-round, it’s important to change financial or identity account passwords quarterly. Creating an entirely new password (or using a unique password generator) that combines letters, characters and numbers should be done every three months to protect sensitive accounts against fraudulent activity or stolen information.
Monitor Financial Statements for Unauthorized Activity
Being aware of your financial activity, and monitoring billing statements for any unexpected or unauthorized activity goes a long way towards defending or proactively addressing seasonal threats and identity thieves. Early detection, immediate action and use of identity theft protection services makes catching hackers and thieves easier. In fact, some companies even financially insure your identity information in order to protect against and resolve fraudulent activity or inquiries.
For more tips and information on safe holiday online shopping, check out the infographic by LifeLock below to learn more about seasonal scams and risks that can compromise financial and identity information.