How is your holiday shopping coming so far? I have items picked out for a few people, but I still have quite a bit of looking to do – I haven’t wrapped one single present yet, so I guess I had better get on that. 😉 I think most people are in the same boat as me, and with as busy as we all are these days, online shopping is an amazing way to take care of what you need without even leaving the house. The only downside to this modern miracle is that now we have the very 2014 problem of getting credit and debit card information stolen. Using plastic to pay is here to stay, so LifeLock are sharing 6 tips to help safeguard your financial data while you finish up that last-minute shopping:
- Watch your accounts carefully. About 6 or 7 years ago, I always managed my bank account by just balancing my physical checkbook balance and rarely logged in to my online banking account, because there was no need – until a thief stole my information and used my debit card number to order a $1,000 laptop. I didn’t even realize what had happened until weeks later – this thief was busy using my account, and I was none the wiser. Ever since then, I make sure to login to my online banking account very frequently just to take a quick glance and make sure the numbers still add up with my physical checkbook and no breaches have occurred.
- Change your passwords frequently, and make sure they’re strong. You’ve probably seen the tips about making your password a combo of upper and lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers to form 8 characters or more, rather than using a phrase or word. I know that sounds like such a pain, but I use a free program called KeePass to both generate and store complex passwords, which is a real help!
- If you’re on public wifi, wait until you get home to make any purchases. If you’re on an unsecured connection, it’s best to limit your surfing and save anything requiring a login for later.
- When using your phone to shop, update the OS & make sure you have a passcode. Updating the operating system helps you ensure you’re up-to-the-minute with any security updates, while having your phone password-locked helps if anyone tries to snag your info in person.
- Consider credit cards as an option. As outlined above, when my debit card was compromised, that $1,000 came out of my checking account. My bank rectified everything and my funds were all restored quickly, but obviously this is a headache that credit card users don’t deal with.
- If you’ve been compromised, also consider signing up for some type of identity monitoring service. Many institutions that experience a breach offer this type of service to their customers who have been affected for free, but according to LifeLock, only 1/3 of customers who experience a breach utilize it.
What tips would you add to this list?