The holiday season is in full swing, with many shopping online and in person. Cybercriminals know the increase in traffic and shopping behaviors change this time of year due to the chaos of the holidays and the need to get the “perfect gift.” The guard may be down for many consumers, but it is no reason to let your best cybersecurity practices fall waist side.
We’re here to remind you of ways to shop safely this holiday season!
Review Your Bank Statements
The National Cybersecurity Alliance recommends “Your first line of defense against identity theft and fraud is to pay close attention to your financial records, like bank statements and credit card transactions.” Our team recommends placing a temporary freeze on your credit with each reporting agency to prevent any new lines of credit from opening in your name.
This can be quickly done by going to the following credit bureau sites:
- Equifax: https://www.equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services/credit-freeze/
The worry of fraud has led to a 17% increase from 2021 for consumers who feel they would abandon their cart, according to the 2022 Holiday Shopping Report. Some red flags to look out for when shopping are:
- Suspicious or poor reviews of items or sellers.
- Pricing that is much lower or higher than the standard for the product.
- Seller pressuring you to make the purchase quickly.
- Unnecessary information is being collected.
It may hurt to do, but abandon your cart if you notice these red flags.
Avoid Public WiFi
Public WiFi may seem extremely convenient and harmless when shopping this holiday season, especially when finding a better deal online than in the store. However, connecting to public WiFi should be avoided.
We recommend using a VPN (a virtual private network) or your mobile device as a hotspot if you must buy a few gifts or log in to your financial accounts while away from home.