This is the season of joy, shopping, and unfortunately cyber thievery. While millions of Americans will be looking online for Cyber Monday bargains, crooks will be trying to steal their money, personal information and identity. Identity fraud reached a new high in 2017, with criminals stealing $16 billion from almost 16 million consumers. It’s estimated that a person’s identity is stolen every three seconds.
So how do you avoid the “bad Santa’s” lurking on the internet? To help keep this the most wonderful time of year, we’ve assembled these 10 tips from the Better Business Bureau and our identity theft prevention partner, CyberScout, to add to your holiday list:
- Only shop on secure sites – look for “https” in the URL and a locked padlock symbol and avoid doing so on public WiFi
- Install the latest security software to block the crooks
- Never give personal information, especially social security numbers or passwords
- Use a credit card, not a debit card, for payment (you might consider purchasing a prepaid gift card to use for online shopping)
- Click out of suspicious links immediately (AVG has a free LinkScanner that checks sites legitimacy for you)
- Beware of Santa scammers who promise to send a letter to your child; often they are collecting personal data for ID theft
- Don’t buy used electronics; many are preloaded with malware that can steal personal information and passwords
- Avoid downloading online coupons sent to your email or from websites you are not sure of
- Use unique passwords for every site
- Don’t buy that cute puppy via the Internet – scammers use the holidays to take money for puppies that don’t exist, often using the ruse to get banking and personal information
The quicker you catch a possible breach, the better. Credit experts like CyberScout advise consumers to check their credit card and bank statements weekly, request a receipt for any purchase you make and run a free credit check annually.
California Casualty wants to make sure your identity stays safe from online Grinches; every auto and home/renters insurance policy comes with Free ID theft protection and resolution services from CyberScout. Make sure to protect your property and identity this holiday, call a California Casualty advisor today at 1.800.800.9410, or visit www.calcas.com/identity-theft.
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This article furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters and nurses. Get a quote at 1.800.800.9410 or www.calcas.com.
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