Pretty much every store is having an online sale right now. Here’s how to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft.
Install firewalls and virus detection software on all computers, and regularly update and patch them.
Use strong passwords (a mix of numbers, symbols and uppercase or lowercase letters), and a different password for bank accounts and other sensitive accounts than for social media accounts.
Research websites/retailers to make sure they’re legitimate especially when discounts seem too good to be true. The lock symbol in the browser address bar indicates encryption is used.
Only pay using secure payment methods (unsafe methods include wire transfer, Bitcoin, and money order).
Don’t over-share on social media. Travel plans, names, and other facts make it easier for thieves.
Use discretion when downloading apps (some companies issue app-approved lists for their employees). Research new apps to see if there are any reported security issues.
Use the privacy settings provided by apps and social media sites.
Don’t open suspicious e-mails and attachments. Go to the company’s website or call.
Do not transmit passwords, payment information, or any other confidential information when using public Wi-Fi.
Shop with familiar companies, and watch for phishing schemes disguised as holiday deals. Hover the mouse over links to see where they lead before clicking. If in doubt, delete.
Safeguard confidential information off-line too. If volunteering, be weary of providing sensitive personal information and ask about data security practices. At check-outs, don’t reveal too much confidential information out loud, and guard your pin.
Be sure someone can accept packages being delivered. Mailing labels and receipts contain personal information too.
Check credit card and bank statements often. Promptly report purchases you didn’t make.
Partner with a trustworthy document destruction company for secure destruction of paper documents and hard drives and e-media that are no longer needed.