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Protecting Your Identity During the Busiest Shopping Season

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The holiday season is a time of joy, giving, and shopping. With the hustle and bustle of busy stores and online purchases, it’s crucial to remain vigilant about protecting your identity especially during the busiest part of the season. As you embark on your holiday shopping adventures, consider these essential tips to safeguard your personal information and financial security:

Shop from Reputable Retailers

Stick to well-known and reputable retailers, both in physical stores and online. Be cautious of unfamiliar websites, especially if they offer deals that seem too good to be true. If you are unsure about a website, always air on the side of caution.

Use Secure Websites

When shopping online, ensure the websites you visit are secure. Look for “https://” in the URL and a padlock symbol in the address bar, indicating that the site uses encryption to protect your information.

Strong, Unique Passwords

Use strong and unique passwords for your online accounts, especially those related to shopping. Avoid using easily guessable information like birth dates or simple passwords. Consider using a password manager to help you generate and store complex passwords securely. Check out the UCCU Strong Password Hints Article

To test how strong you password is click here: How Secure Is My Password? | Password Strength Checker 

Enable Two-Factor Authentication

Many online retailers and financial institutions offer two-factor authentication (2FA) for added security. Enable this feature wherever possible to provide an extra layer of protection.

Avoid Public Wi-Fi for Shopping

Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks when making online purchases. These networks can be less secure and make it easier for cybercriminals to intercept and steal your data. Use a secure, private connection instead.

Regularly Monitor Your Accounts

Frequently review your bank and credit card statements to ensure all transactions are accurate. If you notice any unauthorized charges, report them immediately. Consider signing up for a credit monitor or an identity monitor. 

Be Cautious with Emails

Beware of phishing emails that may look like legitimate communications from retailers. Never click on suspicious links or provide personal information in response to emails. Instead, go directly to the retailer’s official website.

Verify Charity Donations

During the holiday season, scammers often create fake charity websites to exploit your generosity. Before making a donation, verify the legitimacy of the charity by visiting their official website or using reputable charity evaluation services.

The holiday season is a time to celebrate and enjoy, but it’s also a time when identity theft and scams are more prevalent. By following these tips and staying vigilant, you can protect your identity and enjoy a worry-free holiday shopping season. Stay safe and secure while you shop, and focus on the joy of the season.