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‘Tis the Season to Protect Your Online Identity

Online sales for the 2017 Holiday Season are off to a record-breaking start with almost $8 billion in sales over Thanksgiving and Black Friday combined. That’s great news if you’re trying to save on time, gas, and money. Unfortunately, it can also be great news for would-be thieves who can try to steal your online identity for their own purchases. But with a few precautions, you can buy confidently online. So go ahead, cozy up with a cup of hot chocolate, some fuzzy slippers and your computer/mobile device to do your holiday shopping using these tips:

  • Limit the personal information you share about yourself online. While social media sites can be great for connecting and reconnecting with friends, identity thieves can use the information you put out there.
  • Ensure your purchases are made on a secure site. You can do this by simply checking that the URL starts with HTTPS:// and not just HTTP://.
  • Keep in mind that no online store needs your social security number in order for you to make a purchase. Sharing your social security information together with credit card information can make you particularly vulnerable to identity theft so be wary of any site that asks for this information.
  • Choose strong passwords with a combination of letters and numbers and don’t share the passwords.
  • Install firewall and anti-virus software. This can help protect you from exposure to malicious cyber attacks.
  • Keep your Web browser updated to ensure you have the most recent and effective security features. Install firewall and anti-virus software to help in fending off malicious cyber attacks.
  • Don’t wait for your paper statement to come in before checking your account. Go online regularly to check your electronic statements. Doing this with more frequency will also enable you to more accurately check your bills as they’re fresher in your memory.