Did you participate in the Cyber Monday sales? You might want to make sure your information is safe from online thieves. Due to the high volume of online shoppers during this time of year, criminals take advantage and try to steal identities, and even worse, tax and financial data that can be used to file a fraudulent tax return. Here a few ways to protect your information while doing your holiday online shopping.
- Be sure the website begins with “https”. The “s” is for secure communications over the computer network. It is an added layer of protection when inputting credit card information when purchasing. Something to note is scam sites also can use “https”, so it is important to ensure it is a legitimate retailer’s website.
- Do not shop online while using public wi-fi in places like a mall. This is an easy way for the thieves to hack into your computer.
- When at home, make sure your wi-fi has a password. This will ensure that your system is secure, and it becomes harder for the thieves to access your information.
- Do not forget to use security software for computers and cellphones. It is important the software is updated frequently. Make sure purchased anti-virus software has a feature to stop malware, and there is a firewall that can prevent intrusions.
- Protect your personal information. Do not fall for the phishing scams, for example, imposter emails, calls, and texts. This is the No. 1 way thieves steal personal information from people. Be sure to not open any links or attachments in suspicious emails.
- Use unique and strong passwords for online accounts. It is best to use a phrase or a series of words that can be easily remembered.
- Always use two-factor authentication if available. Many social media applications and email providers offer this feature.
- Back up files on computers and mobile phones. A cloud service or external hard drive can be used to copy information. This provides an important place to recover important tax and financial data.
All these security measures also apply to mobile phones, as thieves have become more adept at hacking information on mobile devices. People are more likely to open a scam email on their phone than they are on their computer, so it is important to ensure your information on your phone is just as protected as the information on your computer.
With online thieves getting sneakier, we must be smarter and protect our information. By applying these security measures, it will help keep your information secure and protected. Stay safe and happy online shopping!