Tips to protect your ID and accounts during holiday shopping season

Tips to protect your ID and accounts during holiday shopping season

Last year, known as the year of the data breach, saw a 23 percent increase over 2013.

The year 2015 has been just about as bad.

Since the Target in breach in 2013, there has been a major data breach discovered almost every month.

Those breaches include Home Depot, CVS, Michaels Stores, Sally Beauty Supply, Neiman Marcus, AOL, Sony, Anthem, eBay and P.F. Chang's Chinese Bistro. Notice the focus on retail!

A recent Ponemon Institute survey estimates 47 percent of all American adults have been affected by data breaches in the last year, with an estimated 432 online accounts being affected.

There were more than 600 reported data breaches in 2013, a 30 percent increase over 2012.

The retail industry was the number one target, with nearly 22 percent of network intrusions occurring at retailers, according to the Verizon 2013 Data Breach Investigation Report.

Cybercrime has cost the global economy $575 billion and the U.S. economy $100 billion annually, making the U.S. the hardest hit of any country, according to a report from Intel Security and the Center for Strategic and International Studies

As more data moves to the Cloud, safeguarding your account credentials (username and password) will be even more important

Basic tips to stay safe while shopping this holiday season:

  • Use a strong, unique password for each account. Change them regularly
  • Never give your credit card number or other sensitive information out via email
  • Only use mobile apps from reputable sites such as the Apple App Store or Google Play
  • Keep your operating system, browser, and other critical software secure by regularly installing patches
  • Be wary when clicking links, especially in an e-mail or social media site. It might be a Phishing attempt. Enter the web site address manually
  • Ensure that any website you use the needs sensitive information is using SSL. look for "http://" in the URL and a lock in the browser
  • Stick to well-know, reputable sites and double check the URL (web address)
  • Never use a public network or WiFi for a financial transaction or to send sensitive information
  • Use a credit card rather than a debit card to limit your exposure
  • Education and awareness are key to learning about the ever changing thread landscape
  • Regularly check your account statements for fraudulent activity
  • Limit the amount of personal information you post online and use privacy settings to avoid sharing information widely that could be used to impersonate you
  • Maintain an open dialogue with your family, friends, and community about Internet safety
  • Use common sense and be skeptical, online. If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is
  • Consider investing in Identity Theft protection

If there are problems, report scams, fraud, identity theft, or other abuse:

  • To the web service, local police, and the bank, credit card company, or other financial institution
  • For identity theft in the United States, to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or call toll free: (877) 438-4338 for scams or fraud in the United States, to the FTC or call toll free: (877) 382-4357

For more information, visit:


Source: Dave Hatter, PMP, ITIL Definity Partners®