Scam alert: Identity thieves are shopping for your information this holiday season. The FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center receives 300,000 complaints a year, totaling $800 million in losses. Use these cyber security tips to protect yourself.
As many as 60% of Millennial mobile device users and 42% of all smartphone and tablet users will be using their devices for holiday shopping this year, so it’s a good time to be reminded about how to keep yourself safe from identity theft. Here’s how not to be a victim:
Cyber security tips:
Never shop on a public WiFi network. It’s far easier for the bad guys to steal credit card information from an open network.
If you use a public or shared computer, such as in a hotel’s business center or in an airport lounge, be sure to wipe your login information before you logout.
Make sure your operating systems and apps are up to date.
Delete apps you don’t use, especially those that want to send you notifications or track your location via GPS, and check the “permissions” on apps you do use often.
Use only the official app store for your devices. Third party stores might be loaded with malware.
When you are sending sensitive date, such as your credit card information, use only an HTTPS site. Look for a padlock or similar icon in the URL bar that tells you the site you are shopping has top-level security.
Use a credit card, never a debit card, when you shop online. Why give thieves access to your bank account? Also, credit cards offer more protection in case of a billing dispute.
If you will away over the holidays, either at grandma’s house, or on a beach in the Caribbean or ski slope in the Rockies, let your credit card issuers know, so they can ‘flag’ any unusual charges that don’t fit your usual pattern.
Review your credit card bills extra carefully. Look for small charges you don’t recognize, even for $5 or less. According to Joe Loomis, CEO of CyberSponse, a cybersecurity company, some thieves steal just small amounts at a time in the hopes you are less likely to notice and report it, perhaps because it’s a legitimate charge you think you forgot about.
Read this recent ecoXplorer article on how to protect yourself from identity theft before, during and after a vacation.
Here are more tips about cyber security during the holidays from US News.
And from USA Today.
Actually, these cyber security tips are just as valid the rest of the year as they are at the holidays.