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Online shopping tips to stay safe this holiday season

Ho, ho, hold on — before you start purchasing holiday gifts for your loved ones, we’re here to help you understand the risks of online shopping. On average, there is a hacker attack every 39 seconds, affecting one in three Americans every year. To keep your personal information safe on the Internet, we put together our best tips and insights so you can live more and worry less this holiday season.

Use a secure WiFi connection

Think twice before you connect to the free WiFi at a public location such as a coffee shop, hotel, or airport. While it is convenient, oftentimes they are not secure. To ensure your data is protected, always use a password protected WiFi connection or log on to a personal hotspot.

Strengthen your passwords

Having strong passwords on your accounts is one of the best and most effective ways to prevent hackers from getting access to your sensitive information. Your passwords should be at least eight characters long and consist of a combination of lower and upper case letters, numbers, and symbols.

While it may be easy to use one strong password for everything, we strongly recommend you create a unique password for each of your accounts. If not, a hacker would easily be able to unlock multiple accounts.

Only shop on familiar and secure websites

When shopping online, we recommend only buying from reputable brands. If you are unfamiliar with a company, always do your research before making a purchase. One of the best ways to determine if a site is secure is by looking at the URL in the address bar. You will either see a secured padlock icon, or the URL will start with HTTPS (instead of HTTP). If you don’t see these indicators, avoid entering any kind of personal information, including your credit card number.

Delete spam text messages and ignore phishing attempts

Scams are becoming increasingly more difficult to detect — and now they are not just popping up in your inbox, you may also be receiving them through text messages. Never react to a message that seems too good to be true, such as winning an all inclusive vacation or being offered a once in a lifetime discount.

Scammers are masters at creating messages that appear to be from reliable companies or even your friends and family members. Take the time to carefully review the message and do not click any links, download attachments, or send any personal information if it appears to be questionable. If you are still not sure if it is legitimate, call the company’s customer service department or reach out to your friend who’s name is on the message.

Use credit when making a purchase

If a hacker got their hands on your debit card number, they essentially would have access to your bank account and could spend all of your money. By using a credit card, you protect your funds and you may have an easier time disputing fraudulent charges on your account.

We know the holiday season can be stressful, and we want to help! If you have any other questions about online safety, please don’t hesitate to ask — our trusted team of dedicated agents at Cushman Insurance Group are always available to talk and to help you make the right choice, because we’re here to make your life easier.

Call a Cushman Insurance Group agent today at 800-356-5151 or contact us today to learn more.


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