Protect Your Personal Information During the Holidays

The holidays call for a time when people can put aside their differences and enjoy the company of friends and family. This time of year may bring good tidings, but is also a time to closely watch the state of your finances. Identity theft and online hacking are more common during the holiday season. Many consumers are purchasing gifts and decorations online, making them easier targets for online hackers. The holiday season should be a carefree time, so here are a few tips to ensure it isn’t spoiled by identity theft:

Be protective

If you are venturing outside to do some shopping at the mall, be careful for pickpockets. Being in a crowded shopping center, with all the hustle and bustle of the holiday shoppers, may leave you distracted enough to have your wallet or purse stolen without your knowledge. You can protect yourself from this situation by putting your wallet in your front pocket or always have your eyes on your purse.

If you find yourself in this situation, alert your credit provider right away and tell them to freeze your account. Being proactive can help avoid having illegal credit card charges.

Update your software

Many consumers may want to forego the circus that is shopping at the mall during the holidays and get their errands done online. But going the online route may leave you susceptible to different forms of theft. A good starting point to avert online hacking is to update your security software. Installing a top notch software security system can be a great defender against online thieves.

Legitimate sites

Finding a great deal on a hot item is a common goal for many shoppers, but going to unsecure sites may not be the wisest decision. There are many shopping sites out there that aren’t legitimate than can take advantage of you. Before you click checkout on your shopping cart, look at the web address and make sure that it is a secure site. A protected site’s URL will begin with https. The “s” is an indicator that you are on a secure web page. Entering your personal and credit information and going through with the transaction on an unsecured site can lead to the possibility of having your personal information stolen. A quick glance at the top of the page can save you from theft or fraud.

Public access

Using a public computer or Wi-Fi account may be fine for browsing the Internet, but it is hard to verify the security on these systems. You never know if a public library computer has a virus from a previous user or if a coffee shop Wi-Fi doesn’t have any security software. It is best to bypass these resources and use your own computers that has better security software.


You may think that sites that ask you to create long, complicated passwords are nuisances, but they are more helpful than you think. These sites ask for unique passwords in order to combat online fraud. Choosing your birthday or some other easy-to-guess password can lead to thieves easily accessing your information. Along with creating a unique password, it pays to change it regularly to keep you one step ahead of possible online thieves.

The holidays can be a very happy time of year – from spending time with loved ones and to opening gifts on a crisp December morning. That mood can be dampened quickly if you fall victim to identity theft. These are just a  few quick and simple ways you can guard yourself from online thieves this holiday season.

Posted in Finance
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