The holiday season is here, and that means shopping rushes as far as the eye can see. Unfortunately, with so many people out an about, it’s also identity theft season. Identity theft is a problem that holiday shoppers seem to put off, many of them with the “it won’t happen to me mentality.”
THIS MENTALITY IS A TRAP.
Complacency is never an option when it comes to identity theft, and with online shopping becoming more and more popular, it’s easier than ever for the ethically loose to obtain personal information from unsuspecting victims.
How Do I Protect Myself from Identity Theft?
Identity and information theft preys upon the unprepared and uncaring, but can be made much less problematic with a few simple preventative measures we at Micro Systems urge people to take.
- Never shop on an unsecured network. This is a simple one, but many people don’t realise the inherit danger. Local shops and cafes that offer free public wifi are often unsecured networks. What this means is that anyone using a signal interceptor can obtain any information people on that network type in. Which in the holiday season often includes banking information and email passwords.
- Never use a Debit Card When Shopping Online. The problem with debit cards versus credit, is that they are directly connected to your bank account, and are more difficult to dispute purchases on. If someone has your debit card, they have your bank account.
- Keep your Information Close. Information attacks are going to increase during this season, so being a little more careful about who you give your information to is a reasonable precaution.
- Invest in an RFID Blocker. These can be small cards or sleeves often inserted into your wallet. What these do is they block the scans taken by a skimmer; a device people use to obtain credit and debit card information simply by having it near your pocket. Having one of these can mean much more peace of mind when in busy shopping centers.
- Keep Informed. Stay up to date about cyber attacks so you can avoid any websites or locales known for being identity theft hotspots.
- Complex and Often Changing Passwords. This is something people should do year-round but if an excuse is needed, the holiday shopping season will do. A simple change like adding a numerical sequence and random capitalizations can make a password much more difficult to crack. (Ex. “password” -> “12pAsSwOrD34”). Changing your passwords even on a monthly basis can also increase your personal security.
These are just a handful of strategies to protect your personal information and prevent people from obtaining what is most important to you. Remember to be safe this shopping season, and we at Micro Systems Management wish you Happy Holidays!