The Best Tips for Safeguarding Your Privacy Online
The holidays are a time of year just about everyone anticipates. You can get together with your friends and family and catch up on what’s been going on thought the year. It’s also a great time to do some online shopping. However, before you start sharing your private information with strangers online, you need to understand that the holidays are the best time of year for cybercriminals and hackers to catch people unaware. This is when they churn out the scams and try their best to steal financial information from unsuspecting consumers. If you don’t want them to take advantage of you, then you can use the following twelve tips to protect yourself.
These individuals who have created false websites in an attempt to scam you or steal information are called cybercriminals. Consumers need to be careful when they are shopping on the internet, as there are lots of these people and their scam sites all over the Web. We have a few tips that can keep you safe, though.
Look out for false charity sites.
During the holidays, people become more generous than usual. Charities and scammers both know that, and the latter may send out emails posing as the former. This phishing tactic is usually tied to a fake website, and it allow the hacker to access your personal data. They could hurt your reputation and steal your money with this info.
Watch out for fake email.
Most email services do a good job of protecting you from both spam and scams. A lot of the fake email campaigns pretend to be from services that you would normally trust. If you are not expecting a message from that service, though, then you need to be wary, especially if you are being asked to provide personal information or make a payment. They could destroy your data and gain control of your computer.
Forgo holiday greeting cards online.
It might be a lot of fun to receive e-cards during the holidays, but if you get one from someone you don’t know or from an address you are not familiar with, then you should not open it. Fake e-cards come with virus that can infect your computer and steal your information.
Don’t use bargain websites to do your shopping.
If there are certain gifts you are eyeing for the holidays, be careful about those sites that are selling them for far cheaper than you see elsewhere. One tactic cybercriminals like to use is setting up fake websites that can easily take your banking or credit card details. Try to stay on sites that you know are safe to shop on and those that use brand awareness to get their name out there and establish trust.
Only use a protected Wi-Fi network to shop online.
You have to keep your identity safe when you shop online. You don’t want to give away details about yourself unless you have to. One way hackers can access your information without you even knowing about it is to access your computer or accounts when you are on an unsecured Wi-fi network. This is a network that doesn’t have privacy controls enabled and that anyone can gain access to. This is often the case with networks that are used at the public library or in other public locations. Only use Wi-Fi networks that have security protocols in place and that have a reputation for good security.
Also, be wary of social networking scams.
During the holiday season, you may get many new friend requests. Friends and family members may be trying to reconnect with you during this time. Be careful about accepting requests from people who you don’t know. If you don’t know someone in real life, you should be very careful about befriending them online, because you don’t know who they may really be. If someone becomes your friends on Facebook, they may have much more access to the kind of information that you only share with close friends, and they may be able to use that to destroy your reputation.
Change passwords regularly.
If you use the same password on shopping sites that you do on your bank account, your email and other personal information sites, then you are allowing your personal account security to become very weak. You are opening yourself up to hackers, and you can prevent them from accessing your information so easily by changing your password regularly and not using the same password on multiple sites.
Watch out for holiday ringtones.
You might be tempted to download some festive ringtones and other items for your phone during this time of year, but you do need to be wary about where you get them from. Hackers will often create sites specifically to get people to download files that will install viruses on their computers and phones. You want to ensure a site is legitimate before you start using it and downloading from it. Look at the company that owns the site and see what kind of brand management practices they do before you start to download anything from the site.
Get rid of those emails that promise you can work from home.
You may have some trouble paying all your bills during the holidays. It could be tempting to click on one of those work-from-home emails that may show up in your inbox, but be wary. Many of these are scams. If someone really wants to offer you a job, they will likely talk to you in person or through a business website rather than send out a bunch of emails to random people. These job opportunities that seem too good to be true often involve you paying a fee, and then you never get paid for the work or even get any work to do afterwards. Just remember that anything that sounds too good to be true usually is.
Not all auction deals are legitimate.
You may find some great deals on auction sites, but you should be careful of items that are selling for ridiculous process. Many times, scammers will stake out auction sites to steal money from people who aren’t expecting them. You might not get what your ordered from them and could be out your money. Only use sites that offer buyer protection.
Know what a false bank statement looks like.
You can do some good for the environment by receiving your bank statement online, but if you don’t know what that statement is supposed to look like, then you could be taken advantage of by scammers using false bank statements. Emails from people trying to scam you will often ask for personal information. Once they have that info, they will sell it to the highest bidder and your personal details will be out there for everyone to see and make use of.
Keep your Wi-Fi connection private.
The best way to protect your Wi-Fi connection is to place a lock on it. That’s very important when you are shopping online, because you are vulnerable then if you are going to fake websites. Hackers may also be going through your neighbourhood and looking for Wi-Fi networks that are unsecured. If they find one, they may be able to siphon information from them, hack into computers and share your computer’s data. Always encrypt your Wi-Fi with a password for extra security.
These tips are meant to protect your personal details and ultimately your reputation online. Check back with us regularly for more ways to keep yourself safe online.