Make your Holidays Jolly this Year

Halloween is just around the corner, and that means the holiday season will officially be underway – this means the race to find that perfect Christmas gift is on.

While the holiday season is a lot of fun, it’s also a very hectic time. And identity thieves are counting on consumers getting so caught up in the rush that they aren’t as careful as they would usually be. Don’t let them take advantage of you, particularly if you are doing any or all of your holiday shopping online this year.

There are ways to protect yourself from online identity theft. First of all, the most elemental of all instructions is to make sure the site you are using is secure before you enter any account or financial information. Check the URL of the page and make sure the address includes “https” and not just “http.” This means the site has a secure connection.

Watch out for phishing scams. Scammers will attempt to lure you into providing your personal or financial information by masquerading as a trustworthy entity, such as a bank or credit card issuer. They’ll tell you that you must “verify” some sort of information or your account will be suspended or even closed. Bear in mind that a bank or credit issuer would not need to e-mail you to ask for this information; they already have it on file.

You should also be vigilant about updating your computer’s operating system, browser and antivirus software. Identity thieves are looking for victims who aren’t careful about this, and they seek out this vulnerability to commit crimes. Be wary of unsolicited e-mails that contain links – these often contain malware that is designed to secretly access a computer system without the owner’s consent.

Don’t use public Wi-Fi. It’s convenient, sure – but is it worth the risk of being hacked by a thief? When you go public in this way, it becomes a piece of cake for a thief to see what you are doing and steal your information. Likewise, make sure your wireless connection at home is encrypted and password protected.

Make sure you choose strong passwords, and don’t use the same password for every account or site you access. Use upper and lower case letters, as well as symbols and numbers in your passwords. And don’t give your passwords to anyone – ever.

When you are shopping online or in person, use a credit card. With credit cards, you have the right to dispute charges – a debit card can expose your bank account to thieves. Don’t use personal checks when shopping, and if you do, do not write your Social Security number on the check.

By following these tips, you’ll find it can be the difference between a holly, jolly holiday, and one spent miserably wishing you had taken more precautions.

Guest article was provided by Providing consumers identity theft protection and credit monitoring services.

Make your Holidays Jolly this Year by
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