Wednesday, November 15, 2017

3 Tech Tips for Staying Safe this Holiday Season

Staying safe during the holiday season means many things, but we also need to consider the security of our identity and protecting our credit. Most people use their credit cards more often during this time of year whether it be in person, transactions over the phone, or submitting the information for online orders. Regardless of how you spend during the holiday season, these tips can help keep you safe from those who are otherwise looking to access your information and use it to their advantage.

3 Tech Tips for Staying Safe this Holiday Season

Leave the credit cards in your wallet

Whenever it is possible, pay with Apple Pay, Google Wallet, or Samsung Pay. The reason for this is simple, it is more secure. When you pay with these applications, your credit cards remain masked as nobody can see the numbers or gain access to it. When the cards stay in your wallet, they cannot be left behind by accident. If you leave your phone behind, the numbers are masked so they cannot be procured from the smartphone.

Additionally, as a consumer there are no extra fees to use these applications. Once they are set up, you can access them at any time from your smartphone and they are easy to use. The only drawback to these is that they are not accepted everywhere, however the number of places accepting continues to grow.

Dedicate a single credit card to each task
It is not possible to never use a credit card directly. However, you can use a strategic approach to credit card usage. Dedicate one card for in-person shopping and another for online shopping. Should something happen to compromise the card, you limit your exposure and narrow down the possibilities for where the information was taken. 

Providing a select group when reporting to a credit card company might help them find the security breach more quickly. This can help more customers than just you. While we are not responsible for purchases we did not make, those losses are not victim-less. Lastly, specific information can help reduce the likelihood the scam will perpetuate. 

Be cautious of suspect emails
The number of emails with special holiday deals being sent is typically at an all time high from the week of Thanksgiving until after the new year begins. This means it is easier for scam emails to sneak into your inbox along with the hundreds of other legitimate emails from businesses. It is always important to remain vigilant and use caution when opening emails. Question if you signed up for that list and if the sender looks legitimate.

Also, if there is a serious issue with your bank or a credit card, they will call you, send a notification through their app or mail a letter. Email is a way your banks and credit card companies will send information about statements, news, new features or perhaps outages, but not things like changing your password, basic access or security issues. So always remember, they may notify you about new security features, but they should never ask you to change your password by clicking on a link.

Staying safe during the holiday season is about more than physical security, it is also about your digital security and especially maintaining your credit. The more aware we are of how people are trying to gain unauthorized access to our information including credit cards, the better protected we will be when faced with a scam.

As always, we hope this information is helpful and stay safe this holiday!

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