How To Keep Your Information Safe This Holiday Season
keeping-my-information-safe | Read Time: 3 minutes
By Phil DiAngelo | Published: December 2021
The holiday season is a time for cheer and gift giving to loved ones and friends.
In the excitement of searching for that special gift, shopping for them can bring some risk for loss of personal or financial information when you aren’t prepared.
Online holiday sales are expected to hit a record of $207 billion in the U.S. this year, according to Adobe Analytics. While online shopping can make your holidays more convenient in many ways, it is rife with information security pitfalls.
Here are a few tips from the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency to avoid giving the gifts of information to hackers and cybercriminals this holiday season.
Check Your Devices
Take precautions to keep your mobile devices and computers secure. Ensure your security software on all devices is current and your internet and Wi-Fi connections are secure. Use strong passwords and enable multi-factor authentication for any account where it is available, including your bank and payment service accounts. While you are at it, make sure you set up your banking and fraud alerts through your bank’s mobile or online site.
Only Shop Through Trusted Websites
Sometimes when a deal on a hot holiday item seems too good to be true…it is.
When you’re shopping, check that the site is security enabled, with web addresses with "https://" or "shttp://". This means the site takes extra measures to secure your information.
Beware of phishing scams through emails, text messages and phone calls as well, as consumers lost $1.9 billion to phishing schemes and other fraud in 2019, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Your bank would not ask you to confirm your account number, PIN, password or any other personal information via email, text or voice call.
Use Safe Methods for Purchases
Using a credit card can provide extra protection, as federal law caps your liability for fraudulent credit card purchases at $50. Many debit cards also provide fraud protection, so it is important to review the terms and conditions for your various cards and utilize the one that provides the most protection. And make sure you’re checking your account statements regularly for any suspicious charges.
Before you head to the digital store this holiday season, ensure you’re aware of how to best protect yourself and your information so that you can have a safe and happy holiday season.
About the Author – Phil DiAngelo
Phil DiAngelo is Vice President, Director of Operational Risk at WSFS Bank. He has more than 25 years of experience in the financial services industry and is responsible for all aspects of operational risk, business continuity, disaster recovery, information security and electronic fraud monitoring.
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