If you’re like most Americans, you love to shop during the holidays. Case in point: Adobe® Digital Insights said shoppers spent 12.1 percent more this year than Cyber Monday 2015 – 2.5 percent more than Adobe initially predicted.
But as we all know, snagging those online deals isn’t just a one-day affair. Many retailers will continue to offer online deals through Christmas. These deals are exciting, but don’t let them distract you from protecting what’s important: your financial information. While you’re shopping online for your best friend’s new handbag, or the hottest new video game, someone else might be shopping for your personal information.
The holidays are for drinking hot cocoa, spending time with loved ones and swapping gifts. They are most certainly not for unwillingly gifting your credit card information to a stranger. Follow these simple rules to make sure the only thing you’re gifting this holiday season are the gifts you planned on giving:
1. Only shop in a safe and secure network
We’re all familiar with data limits on cell phones, which is why when we’re out and about, it’s a natural instinct to connect to the nearest Wi-Fi hotspot. But be cautious. Many public networks aren’t secure, which means your devices could be at risk by hackers who want to infect your phone with malware or steal your passwords and account information.
So feel free to browse for presents and fill your wishlists while at your local coffee joint. But wait to actually make those purchases until you’re home on a safe and secure network.
2. Beware of fake apps
Speaking of cell phones, if you’re looking to download a retailer or brand’s app, make sure it looks legit. Counterfeiters are creating fake apps for consumer to download, leaving them susceptible to financial fraud, especially if they’re inputting personal credit card information.
Some advice, check the retail or brand’s website for links to their own apps. You can also read the reviews of apps within store. Several bad reviews could raise some red flags. Yes this takes extra time, but it’s worth it.
3. Create purchase alerts
Finally, remember to continuously watch your bank accounts to make sure all purchases were made by you. Set up text alerts* to notify you of any large purchases being charged to your credit card. Taking a few minutes to log in and check your finances could save you time and hassle down the road.
The holidays are one of the most joyous times of year. Don’t let a scammer get away with your friend’s new handbag. Let’s leave the presents for those that are on the nice list!
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