How to Protect Yourself & Your Family Against Identity Theft These Holidays

The holidays are a great time for bringing the family together and for taking some time off work. But truth be told, the world does not stop during the holidays, and people still need to work on important and urgent matters. In fact, 53% of working people work remotely during the holidays, with 30% of which do so several times a day, according to this poll.

Working remotely can increase the risk of falling victim to cyber threats, such as identity theft, in a multitude of ways. In addition to working remotely, last-minute shopping, and most importantly—being distracted—pose the greatest risk to people during the holiday season.

Here are 3 ways to protect yourself and your loved ones during the holidays:

1. Use only safe networks or a VPN when traveling

Airports get extra busy during the holidays, leading to long delays and lots of time to kill. Many people find it to be the best time to take out their smartphone or laptop to play games, check their social media, flight information, emails, etc., all of which require an internet connection. As signals on the network tend to be unexceptionally low,  many connect to the airport’s Wi-Fi, which is relatively easy for hackers to penetrate. To protect your information when traveling, use a VPN, or get ZoneAlarm Extreme Security, which includes mobile security to make sure your connection is always protected.  

2. Last-minute shopping? Nice and slow is the way to go!

You’ve done it again. You just couldn’t figure out what to get your nieces and nephews who have everything you can possibly think of, and now you’re in a rush to get that last-minute shopping done. With that pressure, you are more susceptible to losing focus of what a fishy email or website may look like. However, this is the time to be more focused and careful than ever. Online scammers increase their efforts as they know shoppers will be mindless and more prone to buy into their scams during this time.

  • Avoid clicking on links from an unknown sender or any links that look suspicious.
  • Visit the retailer’s website directly. Phony phishing sites made to look identical to the retailer’s site are prevalent during this season, so to remove any doubt, just go on known sites.
  • Before entering payment, search for the “lock” symbol at the top of the webpage, which assures you the webpage is encrypted and your information is kept safe.
  • Download free anti-phishing browser protection, such as ZoneAlarm’s Web Secure Free, which protects you from mistakenly entering dangerous sites.

3. Take care of your computer and mobile phone

Scenario 1: You’re at the airport, you see a charging station so you bring your laptop to charge. You sit nearby and keep eye contact with the laptop every few seconds to make sure it’s still there. A stranger starts talking to you and you dive into a deep conversation. You look at the laptop again, and poof! it’s gone. A stranger now has access to all your information, especially if your laptop isn’t password protected.

Scenario 2: You’re visiting your family, they invite everyone they know over, and the house just becomes a train station of people coming in and out. Your phone is laying around, and your cousin’s 8-year-old son decides to play a game on it. Unknowingly, he may be downloading malicious apps that can steal and share your information with cybercriminals.

What you can do to protect your devices from falling into the wrong hands:

  • Keep your devices with you at all times.
  • Password protect all your devices. Use a password that’s hard to figure out.
  • Get two-factor authentication to add an extra layer of protection.
  • Protect your wallet when in crowded spaces and shops, and cover your credit card when it’s out.

Still thinking of what to get your family this holiday season? What better way to show your love than protecting your loved ones? Check out ZoneAlarm family holiday specials for bundle offers you don’t want to miss!

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