Protect your online accounts during the holidays

The holidays are approaching and, like many, there’s a variety of things to do. Maybe you need to make airline reservations for a family gathering or purchase concert tickets for the soon-to-be sold out show. Perhaps you start your holiday shopping early so you’ll know your orders will arrive with enough time to giftwrap.

Before the business of the season begins, take some time to consider how best to protect your online accounts from identity theft and fraud. Here are a few tips to think about online safety and security.

Create unique passwords

Many of us default to the same password for various online accounts, but a safer practice is to use a different password for each so if a hacker gets into one account, they won’t easily get into all of your accounts. A combination of letters, numbers and special characters typically works best. For those who have several accounts, there are password manager programs available that can help store passwords so you can easily retrieve them.

Use multi-factor authentication

If your financial institution or online retailer offers multi-factor authentication to verify your identity, take advantage of this additional online security. This extra layer of protection requires users to provide an additional code, picture identification, phrase or something else to verify the user’s identity.

Be wary of public Wi-Fi

Sure, using free public Wi-Fi means is quick and convenient, especially when using your computer in your favorite coffee shop. Just know that public Wi-Fi spots often are not secure and that hackers with enough skill can connect to this network and see the data you’re sending. This applies not only to coffee shops but at hotels, retailers, restaurants and elsewhere.

Verify special offers

You just received an email offering a great discount on an airfare, tickets or a product. Before you click, verify that the sender is legitimate and that you’re not falling for a phishing scam that baits you into clicking onto a link that then downloads malicious software or malware onto your computer.

Usually, you can hover your mouse over the link to see the link address where you will be taken. Be sure that URL is legitimate. If you have any questions, contact the company in question via telephone or through the company’s official site.

Visit us at www.traviscu.org/protection to learn more.

 


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