Cyber criminals know you’re busy during the holiday season. Things tend to get hectic with all the get-togethers and gift giving at the end of the year. Thieves want to take advantage of that distraction to steal your money, data, and identity. Here are five fairly simple proactive measures you can take to protect yourself this holiday season.
Only shop from websites and mobile apps you already trust. Don’t click on the social media ads you see that show prices that are too good to be true. If you receive an email from a shop you don’t know with prices that are super low, don’t click it! The holidays aren’t the time to experiment with new shopping websites and apps.
Don’t use promotional links in emails. Cyber criminals have become really good at sending emails that look exactly like the real thing. But in their emails, the hyperlinks don’t take you to any deals, they just install malware on your machine and steal your identity.
Watch out for fake delivery notification emails. You’re receiving a lot of packages this time of year. Who wants to go to the store and stand in line when the post man can put the package on your door step in a couple of days? Thieves will send you real-looking FedEx and UPS delivery confirmation emails with malicious links inside. Don’t fall for it! Track your packages using the tracking link on your order history page from the website you purchased the items from.
Be cautious of holiday-themed mobile apps. Google and Apple can only do so much to prevent malicious apps from hitting their app stores. Think twice before downloading any holiday-themed game or wallpaper app from an unknown publisher. No matter the publisher, be sure to pay close attention to the permissions the app is requesting. Does that wallpaper app really need access to your camera and Apple Wallet?
Monitor your bank and card activity diligently. Pay attention to your accounts. Early detection of theft will allow you to work with your financial service provider to stop additional fraud and recover lost funds.
As always, stay vigilant and think twice. This applies every day, but is especially true during the holiday season when cyber criminals want to catch you off guard. Happy holidays from all of us at Network Alliance!