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Let’s Not Start the Year Off with Online Identity Theft

on in Security
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It's that time of year again, the time when you're able to sit and take breathe after a month of endless lines, shopping carts, and money flying out the window. The thing is before you know it it'll be time to do it all over again. Thankfully there seems to be a less stressful way of shopping that can be done from the comfort of your couch. So for whatever the occasion, it seems like online shopping is the easy solution. But is it?

In 2015 alone $15 billion was stolen from 13.1 million American consumers. In the past six years’ identity thieves have stolen $112 billion. The introduction of microchip equipped credit cards in 2015 in the United States, has made cards difficult to counterfeit causing criminals focused on new account fraud. This type of fraud more than doubled and now accounts for 20 percent of all fraud losses. New account fraud occurs when a thief opens a credit card or other financial account using a victim’s name and other stolen personal information.

The Consumer Sentinel Network, maintained by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), tracks identity theft complaints that have been filed with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and private organizations. Of the 3.1 million complaints received in 2015, 16 percent were related to identity theft.

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So this raises the question, are you at risk? The answer is YES, but no worries, with these tips you'll be protected from hackers and scams of all kinds.

  • You can start by making sure you are at a secure site. A secure site can be identified by having https in the URL. The “s” in this case stands for secure proving that this is a safe site to be on. Not only is being on a safe site important but what you do on that site matters too.
  •  If creating an account, make the password difficult to hack. Use the Upper/Lower Alpha, Number and Symbol strategy. Such as Cub$W1nW0rld#3r!es
  •  Before purchasing anything make sure you know the sites returns and exchange policy. This will insure a backup plan in case something ever goes wrong with your order.
  •  Next check the websites privacy policy. This will let you know what they do with any personal information entered so you know it won't end up in the wrong hands.
  •  Once you've completed these, are satisfied, and plan to make a purchase, you want to make sure you print an online receipt of your order so you have a paper copy.
  •  Also after reading any emails or statements, print them so you always have paper records that can't be accidentally deleted. Also going along with receiving emails, make sure you don't send any containing financial information since this is a common way it gets into unwanted hands.
  •  If you have to a customer representative, gather their name and badge number. Also have them verify 

And finally, use common sense. With all the stress of finding the perfect item online, you can sometimes lose track of what's a good way to shop compared to a bad way. This is why it's important to keep common sense in mind so you'll always be safe wherever you shop!

T.G. Consultants is here to provide you and your business with the best in practice cybersecurity and security solutions. Trish Glees, the President of T.G. Consultants, maintains CISSP, CISA and Computer Forensics Certificates just for these solutions. You do not have to go across the security chasm alone. Bring T.G. Consultants along. 

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