The holidays are upon us.

That means family gatherings, good food, good times… and unfortunately an increase in cybercrime.

Opportunistic hackers and digital crooks use busy times of the year to really amp up their attacks.

Why? With so much on our minds — and so much shopping going on — cybercriminals find they have increased success during these hectic periods. A distracted mind can certainly make you an easier target.

Here are 3 easy tips to follow to help protect you and your family from the bad people when shopping online or checking your email:

1. Don’t make rash decisions or actions

It’s not a coincidence cybercriminals attack during the holiday rush. With so much to do — shopping, cooking, preparing the house for guests — we may not give enough thought to the messages that show up in our inboxes.

Account alerts, late payment notices, and other important messages may not be what they seem. Take a moment to process these if they come your way. Look for signs a message may be fraudulent, such as misspelled words or a cryptic sender email address.

If you have any doubt, don’t click any links in the email and contact the sender directly. Give them a call, or, if you must use email, start a new email. At the very least, pause and take a moment to reassess matters before taking action.

If you’re at the workplace, check with your IT department or managed service provider.

2. Continue to use strong passwords

Simple, easy-to-guess passwords can lead you to trouble. Cybercriminals can hack your account and steal account credentials. If they get into your email or social media, they’ll have access to your messages and contacts. If one of your financial accounts is hacked, unauthorized purchases could be made, your PINs could be changed, and new accounts could be opened.

By using complex passwords, you can help protect your accounts. Use a combination of upper- and lowercase letters, numerals, and special characters if possible. Avoid common names, phrases, and obvious things like your birthday, address, etc.

3. Beware too-good-to-be-true prices

If something sounds too good to be true, it may very well be!

In the mad rush to get coveted holiday gifts at rock-bottom prices, you may be tempted to pursue that deal you noticed on some obscure website or blog post.

Always do you homework and think before you click. If you want to purchase an item from an online store you’ve never heard off, do a bit of research. Instead of shopping from a page that appeared after clicking on a hyperlink, try going to the store directly with its proper URL. Look for HTTPS in the web address. If you still have a funny feeling, stick with a trusted shop.

Have questions or concerns? Want more tips or an answer to a security conundrum?

Reach out to the cybersecurity experts at InCare. Fill out the form below or catch us on Facebook or Twitter.

 

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