Keep Your Identity Secure While Holiday Shopping This Year
With the holidays here, there are boundless opportunities for great deals and more shopping than at any other time of the year. Though the holidays bring lots of joy, they unfortunately also bring a lot of opportunities for identity theft.
Don’t fret too much, though. The dangers are very real, but so are the steps you can take to protect yourself from falling victim to identity theft this season. Let’s take a look at what you can do to avoid scams and protect your identity this holiday season.
Ensure Basic Protections Are in Place
Before performing your online shopping, take the time to make sure the security of your accounts is up to snuff. First of all, consider your passwords. Are they difficult to guess and unique for every site? If not, consider updating them.
Next, consider turning on multi-factor authentication. This can be a valuable added security measure that requires another step to verify it is you that is accessing your account, which can prevent unauthorized access even if your password is breached. Also, it is crucial to keep an eye on your credit. This won’t prevent identity theft, but it will allow you to respond quickly. This is crucial for minimizing the harm when identity theft does occur.
Practice Caution When Using Online Marketplaces
Every time you share your personal information with a new person or website, this presents a brand new risk. With the supply shortages and high demand this year, more people than ever are turning to unfamiliar online marketplaces with higher than average prices. This is prime ground for fraudsters.
Remember that if a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. Deep discounts and limited-time deals look tempting, but they are often just a way to attract people to a scam. Scammers sometimes make fake lookalike websites imitating a real website. These may sell counterfeit or stolen merchandise, or they may not send anything at all. Instead, they may just steal your identity and financial information.
Also, remember that if you purchase products from sources such as Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace with cash from a person directly, you won’t have the same protection as when you pay with credit cards or buy from a retailer. When possible, use a peer-to-peer payment app such as Venmo or PayPal and if something doesn’t look right, just walk away.
Avoid Public Wi-Fi
When you are out on the town, it can be tempting to knock out a few holiday purchases, but keep in mind that public Wi-Fi may not be secure. A VPN can help to protect some of your information, but there are still risks to using these networks. So, whenever possible, avoid accessing private accounts or making purchases on these networks.
Identity theft is a threat all year round, but with all of the shopping that takes place at this time of year, the threat is at its greatest. Scammers are working their hardest right now, so make sure to put your best efforts out as well and keep your identity secure.