5 Ways to Protect Your Personal Data During the Holidays
For most of the past year, many of us have been quarantined at home in one form or another due to the pandemic. The upcoming holiday season is a time to celebrate with loved ones, finish checking off your gift list, and enjoy the atmosphere this time of year brings. Unfortunately, during the holidays there is also an uptick in phishing scams, identity theft, and a loss of privacy.
We’re sharing some of the best ways to protect your personal data so you can focus on spending time with your loved ones.
Why Are the Holidays a Dangerous Time Regarding Your Personal Information?
When you think about the holidays, you probably don’t think about the increased risk of your personal security or identity being mishandled. But unfortunately, cyber safety is more important than ever during the last two months of the year. We spend more money, visit more stores, shop online and travel to be with our loved ones. While you’re probably checking in on your accounts to make sure you stay on budget, it’s essential to protect your personal data in the process.
There is a rise in identity theft around the holidays because there are so many more opportunities for thefts to occur and go unnoticed. There are a few proactive steps you can take to stay ahead of anyone who wants to target your personal information. You need a solid plan about how to protect your personal data during the holidays. Let’s dive into some of the best ways to protect your privacy.
5 Ways to Protect Your Personal Data
In today’s world, technology is prevalent. Destroying physical documents only scratches the surface of the personal data security measures you need to take. To keep your holiday season happy and safe, follow these helpful tips.
Use an AdBlocker & Security Software On Your Computer
Not only are online ads annoying they can also jeopardize your privacy and security. Ads are used by marketers to collect and distribute your personal data. Online ads collect information like your location, browsing history, income, personal connections, interests, and more. Unfortunately, if an advertisement is compromised, hacked, or hijacked, ads can easily deliver malware straight to your computer. This means that without even clicking anything, just viewing a malicious ad placed on a website can download malware, compromising your computer.
In 1995 just 1% of the world had internet access. Today, that number has skyrocketed to 57%, with over 4 billion internet users worldwide. To increase your privacy and security, an ad-blocking extension added right to your web browser can help protect you from malicious ads meant to collect your private data.
Another way to keep your information safe during the holidays is an antivirus software. With all of the digital greeting cards being sent, you may receive an unwanted virus attached. An up-to-date, reliable, and trustworthy antivirus software is essential to staying safe this season. That way, even if you accidentally open something containing a virus, your computer or phone won’t be ruined by the viral infection.
Be Cautious When You Provide Your Personal Information
Check Your Accounts Regularly for Suspicious Activity
This may sound obvious, but it’s essential in learning to protect your personal data. You have to check your bank accounts, credit card statements, and credit report regularly to make sure no one has committed any fraudulent activity in your name. Whether you set a specific day of the week or month to do this, or you double-check after any significant purchases, it’s incredibly important to regularly check in on your accounts and security. If you notice any suspicious activity call your bank immediately to file a report and cancel your card if needed.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings, In-Person and Online
There’s a double-edged sword when it comes to your security during the holiday season because you’re shopping and browsing more both in-person and online.
In-Person Shopping Security Tips
- When you visit a store, make purchases with credit cards rather than your bank or debit card. This sounds counterintuitive, but if your credit card is stolen and a fraudulent charge is made, it’s much easier to get your money back through a credit company than a debit charge.
- Only use bank-affiliated ATMs so you know your money and personal information is in good hands.
- Keep your eyes open, especially in check-out lines and ATMs. Don’t forget to double-check that you received your card back after a purchase and that you have a receipt.
- After an in-person purchase, check the receipt to make sure you were only charged once for the purchase and not overcharged.
Online Shopping Security Tips
- Avoid using public WiFi connections whenever possible, since hackers can easily use public networks to access your information or distribute malware.
- Only visit legitimate and secure websites.
- If you’re asked to provide your personal information make sure the site has an SSL secure connection—you’ll know by the website address starting with “https” rather than just “http”, and on many browsers, you’ll see a “lock” icon next to the address bar.
- If you discover a company on social media, check out their website and online reviews to make sure it’s a legitimate business and not a scam.
Use Alerts.com to Protect Yourself and Create Peace-of-Mind
95% of Americans are concerned about businesses collecting and selling their personal information without permission. Alerts.com allows you to take a proactive approach to protecting your information, by giving you the ability to see what businesses have access to your private data, what specific information they have, and ask to be deleted from their list at any time.
These easy tips will help you protect yourself and keep your data safe during the upcoming holiday season, so you can focus your time on what matters most.
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