Once Thanksgiving is over, people often turn their attention to holiday shopping. You want to get a good deal and buy your friends and family what they want. Black Friday and Cyber Monday (and the entire holiday shopping season) is a great time for this, but it’s also prime-time for identity thieves.
Here’s what you need to know to stay safe.
Update Your Antivirus Software
Make sure your home computer, laptop, tablet, and even phone are as safe as possible with an up-to-date antivirus software. Don’t count on free versions. Pay for the software and make sure it’s properly installed and updated. This will help protect you from viruses, phishing scams, hackers, and more. That way, if you click on a fake link or shop on an unsecured site, you’ve got something protecting you from theft.
Watch Your Payments
Some people want to use debit cards. Others use a specific credit card. Still other shoppers rely on payment apps and virtual wallets. Know how your preferred payment option handles fraudulent charges before you shop. Credit cards often provide more protection than a debit card will. Payment apps may have a resolution center that could take a while to get your money back. Once you start shopping, monitor your accounts to make sure the correct transactions go through. If you see something you don’t recognize, report it immediately.
Avoid Fake Sites and Fake Coupons
We’ve all received the email that said we needed to click a link and login to our account to deal with a dispute. Many of these are phishing scams trying to get your personal information. On social media, especially around Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it’s not unusual to see a too-good-to-be-true coupon from a major retailer — these are also fake. When you click the link, you’re asked to provide your personal information. Scammers use this to steal your identity and your money.
Don’t Shop on Public WiFi
Public WiFi isn’t a secure connection. If you don’t have a VPN on your device, don’t login to your bank or use your credit card while you’re at that coffee shop. It’s possible for thieves to monitor what you’re doing and take your information. Now they have everything they need to steal your identity, use your credit card, and make your holidays extremely stressful.
Add Identity Protection to Your Policy
As a homeowner you can often add identity theft protection to your homeowners insurance policy. It costs time and money to prove you didn’t open that credit card, make those purchases, or take out that loan. This coverage protects you from the financial loss that comes with identity theft.
Before you make your shopping list for this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, make sure you have a plan to protect yourself. Update your devices. Avoid scams. And add identity protection to your insurance policy. Contact Charlotte Insurance today to get a price quote and learn more.