Author: Jaime Garispe
I have a problem and started my Christmas shopping in August. However, peak shopping season usually begins with black Friday and hackers are on high alert because they know that there is a huge increase in online shopping and credit card transactions. My biggest shopping tip is not to "Drink and Prime"- in other words, don't shop on Amazon when you've had a couple of glasses of wine. They make it way too easy to buy things with just one click. But, on to more relevant tips to keep your identity safe from hackers this holiday season!
- Don't process transactions over public wifi connections: It's OK to shop and browse at coffee shops and libraries but try to avoid making purchases when connected to those networks. It's better to save the actual purchase and transaction for when you're back home on your own private internet connection.
- Be weary of hyperlinks and attachments. Hackers send out phishing scams all the time that imitate legitimate coupons and offers from real businesses. For example, one phishing email might look like it's coming from Apple to preorder the new iPhone when in reality it has one or two letters changed and is a phishing attack.
- Be careful with holiday ecards. Sure, it might be a harmless JibJab video of your family dancing in elf costumes, but it also might be malicious. Use extra caution and don't open anything that looks suspicious.
- Update your passwords. I know it's hard to remember a million passwords, but try not to use the same password for everything. Otherwise, once it's compromised, all of your accounts will be in jeopardy. Try to avoid using simple and common words and include a special character, number, and capital letters.
- Do your research. Before processing your credit card on a site, dig a little and make sure it is a legitimate business. Some illegitimate businesses pop up during the holiday season and "take orders" but never send out the goods.
- Review your bank statements. Remember to check these regularly to look for any purchases that may not have been made by you.