As the winter weather rolls in, with the end-of-year holidays following close behind, conversations should center around thankfulness, joy, cheer, and plans for the new year. Unfortunately, a chill in the air also brings an unwelcome rise in cybercrime. Cybersecurity attacks have increased by 31% in the past two years, and the fiscal impact is expected to reach $10.5 trillion by 2025.
But, there’s no real concern or reason to feel intimidated as long as you know what to do to protect your identity from cybercriminals who try to scam you or access your information.
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Be conscious of where you do your online shopping
This time of year, it’s easy to get caught up in all the deals and discounts you may see floating around the internet. Shopping for great deals is absolutely fine, but make sure your purchases are made through a reputable retailer.
According to the most recent report from the Business Bureau Institute, online shopping scams were the riskiest type of scam in 2021.
In addition to being hesitant about “too good to be true” deals, making purchases from places such as Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or eBay could put you at greater risk.
Conduct a brief security check
You don’t need to be a security expert to know how to protect your identity. In fact, there are some simple ways to check the security of your online activity.
Firstly, if it doesn’t look right, don’t click it! Trust your gut on these things. Identity thieves can send viruses and malware with fake e-gift cards, phony greeting cards, and links to non-existent deals or best buys. If you see one of these, find the tracking or ID number attached to the fake material and try to insert it into the company’s website—but don’t click anything!
You can also confirm the security of a website by checking the URL. At the beginning of it, you’ll see the letters “HTTP” or “HTTPS”. You always want to look for an “HTTPS” address as the ‘S’ stands for “secure!”
Lastly, never shop on public Wi-Fi. While this may be tempting, public networks may not be secure.
Your identity could be vulnerable in stores
Identity theft isn’t something that is present on the internet only. When you head to the mall or your favorite local merchandiser, be aware of your surroundings and consider your purchasing methods.
It’s always a great idea to use traceable payment methods. For example, if you’re in a store (or even shopping online), a credit card, debit card, or verified gift card will always be your safest option. If anyone asks for cryptocurrency or a wire transfer, it is best to make the decision to buy somewhere else.
Furthermore, when paying with your credit card, always check for card-skimming devices that may be attached to an ATM, gas pump, or card reader. Card skimming fraud increased more than 759% year-over-year in the first half of 2022, according to data from FICO Card Alert Service.
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Protect yourself from identity theft
Identity theft protection isn’t just something that can save you during the holidays. While cyberattacks are prominent during this time, criminals don’t stop—their attempts to compile personal information happen year-round.
Vensure always recommends identity theft protection with Allstate Identity Protection. Not only does Allstate Identity Protection provide real-time monitoring, but they also offer stolen funds reimbursements, retirement savings monitoring, 24/7 assistance to potential victims, and more.
Allstate Identity Protection constantly keeps up with cybercrime trends and features comprehensive coverage with malware detection tools, Wi-Fi network security scans, safe browsing, and phishing protection. To learn more about Vensure’s partnership with Allstate Identity Protection and how it may benefit you, please click here.