Are you planning to shop online this Cyber Monday? You’ll have lots of company. Data shows more than 120 million shoppers took to the internet on Cyber Monday in 2016, cashing in on more than $3.45 billion in bargain-priced goods – and there’s a good chance those numbers will be surpassed this year.
Before you start making your lists and planning your own bargain-shopping spree, you might want to do a little security planning to make sure your credit card number and other personal information are well protected. After all, shoppers aren’t the only ones who will be hitting those e-tailers in droves; cybercriminals will also be out in full force with all sorts of tricks to help them steal your identity and rack up tons of charges in your name. Here’s how you can help thwart their plans and avoid identity theft this Cyber Monday:
- Strengthen those passwords. Too many people use easy-to-guess passwords for their bank account, credit cards, email accounts and shopping sites, making it easy for them to become targets for identity theft. Before shopping online this year, ramp up your password strategy with these tips from ConnectSafely.org.
- Keep passwords private. Never share them with friends, and try to use a different password for each bank account, credit card site, and shopping portal you visit. That way, if thieves manage to steal your information from one site, they won’t be able to use it to log in to another.
- Steer clear of public WiFi. Shopping from the comfort a local coffee shop or library may sound like a good idea, but public WiFi comes with its own set of security issues, making it easy for thieves to steal your personal information. Instead, shop from your own internet connection at home or invest in a portable “WiFi hotspot” designed to give you a secure connection wherever you are.
- Limit your cards. Use just one credit card for your online shopping. With just one account, it’s easy to spot unusual activity and errant charges so you can act quickly to protect yourself (and your money). Ask your card issuer about virtual credit card numbers designed to shield your real account number.
- Skip the credit cards. Instead, invest in a gift card and use it for all your Cyber Monday purchases. With a gift card, your credit cards will be protected. Just be sure to register the card on its website and use a unique password for the site.
For year-round identity theft protection, consider investing in identity theft insurance. Policies are affordable, and they’re designed to give you plenty of protection as well as that all-important peace of mind. Call Basi Insurance Services at 877-590-4826 to learn more.