The holiday season is a time to shop, travel and connect with friends and family – but you also need to watch out for data breaches, hacks and theft. Security risks can take your holiday from “merry” to “scary” in an instant, and your increased activity during the season might leave you vulnerable both on and offline. Here’s what you can do to protect your identity and secure your phone during the holidays.
Online shopping can leave you vulnerable to identity theft and credit card fraud. Verify that the sites you’re visiting are trustworthy with this checklist for website safety and security, and never give out credit card information over text or email – no matter who’s asking.
One of the easiest tips for identity theft protection: don’t use public Wi-Fi networks for online shopping, banking or logging into your accounts. Remember to turn off Bluetooth when you’re out and about – both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth can be a channel for identity thieves to steal sensitive information like passwords or credit card numbers.
Protect Your Information
Identity theft protection can be a huge concern over the holidays, but it should stay on your mind well into the new year. Use longer passwords that won’t be easy to guess. Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts and when you change passwords, don’t just change one character.
Review our best practices for securing personal data online and don’t forget to unsubscribe from email lists and delete unused accounts.
Secure Your Device
It can be tough to keep track of your phone during the hectic holiday shopping season — which is exactly why you should pay extra attention. Don’t leave your device out in public places. Lock your phone with a passcode and change the code frequently. If you want added protection (and you do), opt to use your phone’s fingerprint or face scanner instead.
For more ideas, plus advice on mobile phone security apps and programs, check out our top five mobile device security tips that can save you a serious headache.
Track Your Phone
If your device does get lost or stolen, you have a last line of defense. You may be able to access your Smartphone from another device to verify its location and lock it remotely. Use the “Find My Phone” feature for phones with an iOS platform. Android users can access phones remotely via a connected Google account. If you cannot recover your phone, use one of these types of remote access to wipe it, ensuring that no one can get your information even if they have your phone.
Mobile phone security is so important that most wireless carriers offer data and device protection, such as Device Protection+ from U.S. Cellular®. Consider it to safeguard your device and keep your holidays worry-free.
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