Cyber-Protection Tips for the Holidays

Be mindful of these tips to protect yourself from identity theft and other malicious activity while shopping and browsing online during this holiday season. Please feel free to share this information with your family and friends.

Cyber

If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t be fooled by the bargain discounts.  Usually, you get what you pay for and sometimes you’re in for more than you bargained for.

Shop with merchants you know and trust. Go direct by typing in the URLs instead.  Many secure sites have the https:// format or have the verified secure site logos embedded onto their pages.

Secure your home Wi-Fi. To prevent eavesdroppers and data thieves, enable strong encryption on your home wireless network – WPA2 is recommended.

Never reveal your password or auto save your personal information online.

Never email or text your financial information. If there is an transaction issue online, call.

When possible, pay by credit card, not debit card. Credit cards offer protections that may reduce your liability if your information is used improperly.

Be wary of imposter package tracking emails and e-cards. These often come with malicious links or attachments designed to infect your device or steal your account information.

Before clicking on links, pop-ups or opening attachments, research the source to make sure they are legitimate.

Be alert for charity donation scams. Scammers rely on your giving nature especially during the holiday season.

Don’t post pictures of tickets to events you attend on social media sites. Bar codes can be duplicated and fraudsters they find on social media sites and resell the tickets.

Don’t use public computers or public wireless for your online shopping or banking. Criminals may intercept traffic on public wireless networks to steal credit card numbers and other sensitive information. Set your devices to “ask” before joining new wireless networks so you don’t unknowingly connect to an insecure hot spot.

Keep your devices up to date and virus free. Be sure your computer and mobile devices are current with all operating system and application updates. Anti-virus/anti-malware software should be installed, running, and receiving automatic updates.

Only use apps from known, reputable sources. Malware designed to steal credit card and other sensitive information can be downloaded onto mobile devices from seemingly legitimate shopping apps. Be sure to disable Bluetooth and Near Field Communications when not in use to reduce the risk of your data being intercepted by thieves.

Review privacy policies on websites you visit. Know what information the merchant is collecting about you, how it will be stored, how it will be used, and if it will be shared with others.

We hope you have a safe and secure holiday season!