Give Gifts, Not Data: How to Holiday Shop Online Without Oversharing Your Personal Info

November 21, 2023
·
3 min
deleteme

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Every year, we see a marked increase in cyberattacks over the holiday season. This happens for several reasons, the most prominent being an increase in online transactions and a decrease in company workforces.

More people are off during the holiday season, including those who are in charge of protecting a company’s security. Unfortunately, cybercriminals know this and take full advantage of the opportunity to steal data.

So, while more people are giving out their personal and payment information online, there’s less protection and more bad actors. It’s a perfect storm for identity theft, ransomware, malware, and all of the other things we hope never happen to us online.

So, what can you do to protect your data this holiday season? Keep reading to find out.

Only shop online with trusted retailers

With the widespread use of dropshipping, it’s easy to see why so many stores suddenly pop up during the holiday season. Unfortunately, this gives hackers another avenue to try and access your data. 

When doing your holiday shopping online, make sure that you’re only transacting with stores that you know and trust. Double check URLs to make sure that you aren’t falling for a phishing scheme, and always err on the side of caution. This doesn’t mean that you can’t try something new, but make sure that you do your due diligence first.

If trying a new store, check the store's rating, the length of time it has been in business, and do a general search to make sure that it’s legit. 

Don’t fall for shady emails touting “holiday deals”

Scammers will steal logos, images, and trademarked descriptions from legitimate companies in an attempt to convince you that an email is real. They may design the email and claim that all you need to do to take advantage of a “great” deal is to click on a link.

This may lead to a form where they try to collect your info, or enable malware to take root on your device. Always double check the email address of the sender, and look for poor graphics, whether it went to your inbox or spam folder, misspelled words, grammatical errors, and links that don’t lead to a trusted URL. When in doubt, delete the email entirely. 

Change passwords before and after the holiday season

A strong password can make a huge difference in the security of your information. Before you start your holiday shopping, make a point of updating your account passwords for everything from social media to your banking login.

Working with a secure password manager can make this relatively quick and painless, and adds another layer of protection to your data. Once you’re done shopping for the holiday season, it’s a good idea to change your passwords again. This way, if any cybercriminals did manage to get your credentials, you may be able to stop the problem before it starts.

Use VPNs and anti-malware software to protect your info

While not foolproof, VPNs and anti-malware software can both help to keep your data out of the hands of hackers. VPNs can hide your location and protect your stream of data. Protective software can act in the background to prevent threats, alert you to suspicious activity, and make it harder for cybercriminals to access your data.

Good data protection requires the right combination of tools. Make sure to find what works for you before you start crossing things off your gift list.

Be aware of holiday scams and the risks involved.

Every year, cybercriminals get a little more creative. They use trends, shopping preferences, and buyer data to get a clear picture of who to target and how to target them. Some criminals may look for “easy” targets in the elderly or children, but many rely on more sophisticated plans to steal your data.

Before starting your holiday shopping, make sure to look up the most recent list of holiday scams on the Federal Trade Commission website here. You can also find some good information in social media forums, Reddit, and by conducting a search for the term “this year’s holiday scams.”

Get Cloaked to protect your data this season!

Cloaked acts as a complete identity and password manager. You can instantly create unique, working phone numbers, email addresses, and login credentials for every holiday shopping account.

Click here to get started, and take the stress out of shopping for the holidays!

Protect yourself from future breaches

You can try Cloaked for free for 14 days
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