Tis the Season Cyber Protection Hints

December 13, 2012

It’s the season of giving, but don’t give away personal information to identity thieves! Between crowded big box stores, packed mall parking lots and long lines, more and more Americans are doing their holiday shopping online. While this has become a tremendous convenience for many people, it comes with a few risks. Here are six ways to make sure your online shopping experience is a jolly one:
  1. Avoid Shopping Online In Public. While sitting in your local coffee shop browsing for deals online while you sip a latte might be relaxing, you can never be sure who might be looking over your shoulder. With the rise of camera phones, an identity thief could snap a picture of your screen- and your credit card information. You should also avoid using public Wi-Fi when making purchases online- best to do your online shopping from the comfort and security of your own home and network.
  2. Always manually enter credit card information. Some sites give you to the option to save your credit card information so that if you visit the site again you won’t have to re-enter it. While this seems like a convenience, particularly if you regularly make purchases from that site, you run an increased risk that your information could be compromised should the company suffer a data breach. Re-enter your payment information each time you visit the site to make a purchase.
  3. Use The Same Credit Card for All of Your Online Purchases.  If for some reason your information is stolen or compromised, it makes it easier to follow up on the theft of your information, and you only have to worry about cancelling one card instead of multiple cards. But…
  4. …Use A Different Password for Shopping Than For Your Other Accounts. If an online retailer you use has their site hacked, data thieves could have access to the password you use on the site. If you use the same password to access your email or online banking, data thieves could potentially be able to do a lot more damage, so it’s important to use different passwords for your online activities, so that if one site is compromised, your other information won’t be at risk.
  5. Avoid Scams. When you shop online, stick to reputable companies that you are familiar with. If you encounter links or offers through email from addresses that you aren’t familiar with, or that offer discounts and deals that look too good to be true, play it safe and don’t click suspicious links and delete emails from sources you aren’t familiar with.
  6. Make Sure You Have Identity Theft Protection Insurance. It’s easy and generally inexpensive to have special coverage for these risks added to your homeowners or renters insurance policy, and some companies include it automatically on certain policies. The coverage will help you pay for any attorney’s fees, lost wages and other expenses you may incur to restore your ID or credit.  A Trusted Choice ® Independent Insurance Agent can tell you if you already have this coverage or help you obtain it.
So avoid the crowds and the hassles and do your shopping online this year with a little more peace of mind!

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