The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and giving, but they can also be a time of worry and pain. The season for giving gives thieves the perfect opportunity to give themselves your identity. According to the FBI, this holiday season is expected to be one of the busiest for online scams as well as cybercrime.
The best way to avoid being a victim of identity theft during this holiday is by taking precautions now. This post is meant to help you with that! Below are some tips on how you can keep yourself safe from cybercrime no matter what time of year it may be.
Tips to Avoid Identity Theft
There are many ways that you could be a victim of identity theft this holiday season. With cybercrime on the rise and more people shopping online, it’s important to take steps to prevent thieves from accessing your personal information and ruining your holiday season.
Here are four simple tips to help you avoid identity theft:
- Use strong passwords: Make sure all your passwords are over 8 characters long and include upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
- Secure your devices: Be sure to set your security settings on your smartphones and tablets too.
- Be wary of phishing scams: These scams try to fool you into revealing personal information by pretending to be a legitimate company or organization.
- Choose an online retailer with a good reputation: This will decrease the chance of them selling your personal information in the future.
How To Stay Safe Online
We all know the internet is not a safe place. The FBI estimates that there are approximately 781 million identity theft victims in the US each year. That’s almost one in four people!
The best way to stay safe online, according to the FBI, is by practicing good password habits and avoiding suspicious emails. However, there are some other steps you can take to keep yourself safe from cybercrime too.
The following tips will help keep your identity secure while you’re browsing on the internet:
- Always use two-factor identification when signing up for services at websites like Amazon, Facebook, etc.
- Never enter personal or financial information into an unsecured website or email address.
- Use complicated passwords with different combinations of numbers and letters for every account. Avoid using words that can be found in a dictionary.
- Check your bank statements often for fraudulent activity and be sure to contact your bank if you see any irregularities.
- Look out for “phishing” emails that seem suspicious or ask for too much personal information upfront, such as passwords or credit card numbers.
- Make sure business accounts are protected by a cybersecurity specialist such as Netkiller.
Why You Should Have Strong Passwords
Passwords are the first line of defense for your data and identity. But as more people use computers, it becomes increasingly difficult to remember all those passwords.
Don’t worry! That’s why you have a password manager app installed on your device. A password manager will store all of your passwords in a secure vault that only you can access. This means you’ll only have to remember one password: Your master password to the vault or app.
A strong password should contain at least eight characters, with a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols. It should also avoid dictionary words, names, or other personal information like birthdays or addresses.
Password managers make it easy to keep track of all your different passwords for various accounts without having to rely on memory alone—the best way to protect yourself against cybercrime!
Keeping Your Devices Protected
Identity thieves will find any way to steal your identity, including by getting your personal information through your phone or laptop.
Device locks and passwords are also a good idea if you’re worried about theft. For example, if someone steals your laptop, they’ll need a password before they can access anything on it.
You should also always keep an eye out for anything that looks suspicious on either of these devices. Email scams are one of the most common ways thieves get personal information from unsuspecting victims during the holidays. Remember that just because an email looks like it came from someone you know doesn’t mean it really did!
At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you don’t click any links in emails from people you don’t know and don’t download any attachments without first scanning them with antivirus software!
What To Do If You’re A Victim Of Identity Theft.
The best way to protect your identity is by never giving it away. It sounds simple, but the most common way people are getting their identities stolen is by simply clicking on a phishing email.
Phishing emails can be pretty convincing, so they’re often hard to tell apart from the real thing. What’s worse is that many are sent out just before an event that might cause you to click on them unknowingly, like Christmas or tax season.
So if you think something looks suspicious, always double-check the sender and check for spelling errors. A lot of times these emails will have typos or have a generic greeting like “Dear Customer” instead of “Dear John.” If there seems to be anything off with the email, don’t click on it! You’ll thank yourself later.