Although the holiday season is known for gift giving and good cheer, it’s also known for an increase in cybercrime and identity theft. Before you get a jump start on your holiday shopping, follow these four tips to ensure that you’re protecting yourself this season.


  1. Watch out for gift card scams.
    Lately, there’s been an increase in gift card phishing scams. Typically, an attacker pretends to be someone you know and asks you to purchase a gift card on his or her behalf and e-mail back the redemption code. Don’t fall for this common scam.


  1. Make smart decisions about your smart device.
    Internet-connected home devices (e.g., smart security cameras, smart light bulbs, smart speakers, Amazon Echo, Google Home) are all the rage this year, but they may not be as secure as your typical “up-to-date” computer, potentially leaving them vulnerable to attacks. When setting up your new device, be sure to check out the settings or manual to enable any helpful security features it comes with.


  1. Check your online accounts manually—without clicking on links.
    Holiday season is peak time for fake delivery notifications, order confirmations, and password reset e-mails. Rather than clicking on links from within the confirmation e-mail, open a new browser window and log in to your accounts that way.


  1. Consider freezing your credit.
    Don’t let identity theft ruin your holidays. Now that credit freezes are free, it may be worth placing a freeze on your credit file to prevent any unauthorized accounts from being opened.
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