Staying Safe on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
What’s your favorite part of the holiday shopping season? Is it the rush of getting the deals in store on Black Friday or is it the ease of online ordering on Cyber Monday. Either way, shopping for gifts for family and friends is a big part of the holiday season. No matter which day you like more, the last thing you want to do is deal with hacked accounts, maxed out credit cards, or a stolen identity.
Take a look at these tips to help you avoid identity theft and keep yourself safe and secure on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Check Your Receipts
Whether you shop in the store or online, make sure you keep your receipts where you can find them. A day or two after you’ve shopped, check the total of your purchase against what your bank shows was spent. Immediately contact your bank and the store if there’s a discrepancy.
Be Careful Checking Your Online Accounts
There are plenty of dishonest people in the world. When you use free WiFi, you have no way of knowing if that connection is secure. Standing in line, someone might be watching your screen over your shoulder (also known as shoulder surfing). Thieves use these opportunities to steal account information for later use. Wait until you’re in your car or on a secure connection to check your accounts online.
Watch Out for Suspicious Emails
Identify thieves and hackers love to use email to get your account information or add malware to your computer to watch your every move online. Take any email you get from your bank, your credit card company, online stores, and even FedEx and UPS with a grain of salt. No banking company will send an email asking you for your account information. And you should never open a mysterious attachment or click a link that doesn’t look familiar. Also, when you track your order, go directly to the shipper’s website instead of using links emailed to you.
It’s Not All About Online Theft
As hard as this may be to believe, there are still plenty of pickpockets and purse-snatchers out in the world. They take advantage of big crowds to “bump” into you. You don’t give it any thought until you reach in your back pocket for your wallet and realize that it’s not there. While you’re out, put your ID and the one credit card or debit card you’re going to use in your front pocket. Leave the rest at home. That way, if they steal your wallet or purse, you won’t lose everything.
Holiday shopping is always a little stressful, but you can eliminate some of that worry by being safe, whether you’re online or in the store. This way you’ll be able to enjoy the entire season instead of spending hours getting your money, life, and identity back.