Avoid Giving Your Data to Cyber Thieves This Holiday Season

website scamThe holiday season is here! Whether you’re buying online or in a store, your identity could be at risk. Financial fraud can occur in several ways. A thief can open a new account in the stolen identity and then default on payments or make unauthorized purchases on a victim’s account. While the new chip technology in credit cards make them harder to duplicate, stealing someone’s identity provides a bigger payoff for a thief and is harder to detect.

Here are some recommendations for keeping your information safe:

  1. Avoid phishing
    Beware of opening emails from unknown sources or opening attachments or clicking on links embedded in emails. Trust your instincts. If you think an offer is too good to be true, it probably is.
  2. Take care while traveling
    Lots of people travel during the holiday season. What they may not realize is that their boarding passes contain personal information. Don’t toss yours in the hotel trashcan — take it home and shred it to protect your information.
  3. Watch your credit accounts
    It’s rare that your information is used immediately, but something could happen six months to a year later, so monitoring is important.
  4. Password-protect
    Protect all devices that connect to the internet and all user accounts. Do not use the same password twice—choose a password that means something to you and you only. Change your passwords on a regular basis (every 90 days or so).

Take these steps if you believe your information has been compromised:

  • Immediately change all passwords and change your financial passwords first. If you used the same password for multiple resources, make sure to change it for each account, and do not use that password in the future.
  • If you believe the compromise was caused by malicious code, disconnect your computer from the internet.
  • Restart your computer in safe mode and perform a full system restore.
  • Contact businesses, including banks, where you have accounts, as well as credit reporting companies.
  • Close any accounts that may have been compromised. Watch for any unexplainable or unauthorized charges to your accounts.

In addition to insuring your home and business, we are committed to helping you and your loved ones stay safe when disaster strikes. If you would like more information on how to protect yourself from a cyber-attack, please contact us at 609-399-0060 or email info@mcmahonagency.com.