Its a Cybercrime Christmas: How to Protect Yourself This Holiday Season

Credit Cards

Credit cards have a lot of protection features, if a fraudulent purchase is made, you have zero liability if reported on time and we can take advantage of the credit card features to limit risk.

Monitoring

First things first, monitor your credit card charges frequently instead of waiting for the statement you will get after the holidays. That way you can spot and address an issue before it gets out of hand.

Alerting

Some credit cards can send you an alert via text message or email if certain criteria are triggered from a threshold value. For example, it can send an alert for any transaction above $50. Set the lowest possible trigger values for all the alerts available; you will need to do this through your credit cards online account or by calling customer support. If you can set it as low as $1, then you will get notified virtually for every transaction.

Locking

You may have the option to lock a credit card (and your debit card too). This is a good option to use for any credit cards you do not plan to use during the holidays. It is also a good option for a card you do plan to use. One reason you may not want to use it will depend on whether you be able to unlock right before a purchase and right after a purchase. One of my accounts allows me to lock and unlock my debit card with its iPhone app, I unlock before a transaction and lock after the transaction completes.

Credit Freezing

Cybercriminals might try to establish credit in your name this holiday season and it is much more likely to happen after the recent Equifax breach, so if you have not frozen your credit with the major bureaus, it is a good time consider especially when you do not plan to make a big credit purchase.

Online Purchases

The large number of Cyber Monday sales makes it so convenient to buy online. There are some things we can do to limit risk.

HTTPS Secure Websites

Always look at the address in your browser to make sure you are secure.

Ads and Unsolicited Messages

Avoid clicking on ads or any unsolicited text messages / emails. They will likely take you to a fake site or be part of a scam.

Imitation Products

Those top hot selling products sell out pretty quickly at the brick and mortar stores and finding them online may be the only option. Criminals know this and set up fake web sites or sell imitation products.

Avoid WiFi for Financial Transactions

We received confirmation this year from KRACK that WiFi is not as secure as it could be. It is best to assume financial transactions (banking, credit card, etc.) can be eavesdropped over WiFi. It is best to use Ethernet cable connections when doing online transactions.

Starting Your 2017 Taxes

Your Strategies?

Please reply and share your strategies for keeping secure during the holidays. We can all benefit from shared wisdom.

Before you go…

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secjuice™

secjuice™ is your daily shot of opinion, analysis & insight from some of the sharpest wits in cybersecurity, information security, network security and OSINT.

Miguel A. Calles, MBA

Written by

I'm an innovator, cybersecurity writer, a software developer, and a father.

secjuice™

secjuice™ is your daily shot of opinion, analysis & insight from some of the sharpest wits in cybersecurity, information security, network security and OSINT.