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Prevent Identity theft this Christmas Season

6 Ways to protest your credit cards online

At this time of year good old consumerism is hard at work as we buy presents for all of our loved ones and put them under the Christmas tree. The folks over at Avast wrote 6 points about keeping yourself safe from credit card theft or identity fraud. We’ve added some helpful tips on top of what they wrote which will help you and your loved one stay safe this year.

Keep a record of your cards

If you have some time, make photocopies of your credit card info and keep stored away in your computer (but not online). This will enable you to react in a situation where you lose your credit card info in a highly trafficked public place.

Monitor your credit card accounts

These days its considered a bad practice to log onto your credit card and bank websites individually if you’re not doing your own book keeping or tracking expenses. There’s a load of helpful apps and websites out there (mint.com being one of the most popular) to will help you track and analyze your spending. Mint: Money Manager has an awesome app that will combine all of your credit and debt accounts into one central location that updates every time you open up the app. It will pull all your purchases and serve them up in front of you so that you can verify and track your spending the smart way. Here is a link to download Mint on the App Store. If you see something that you don’t recognize, most credit card and banking agencies have 24-hour service for fraud reporting and can help you verify the expenses.

Don’t Use a public computer for shopping

We’ve seen the highest amount of ATM fraud and credit card scanning machines in 2015 than any year before that. These scams are popular because they work so well and can be difficult to detect. Be sure to avoid making purchases on public computers and talented hackers have ways of infecting easy targets like this with hardware or software designed to steal your credit card info. According to Avast, hackers can install “keylogger” malware which is designed to capture every keystroke on the computer so that if you type your credit card and expiration info, you might be sending it unknowingly to a hacker. By the way, it’s painfully easy to make a keylogger. Take a look below:

Avoid Free Wi-fi spots

You might think that because nothing has ever happened in your area, that it’s safe to use a store’s free Wi-Fi. Consider Woofield Mall in Schaumburg where the Christmas traffic becomes so heavy that rent for kiosks skyrockets from $3600/month to $10,000/month in November and December. According to the Chicago Tribune, Chicago-based mall vice-president Scott Morey says , “overall mall traffic has been strong, trending the same or higher than last year at many of its properties.” Hackers are well aware of the Christmas season buying conditions and target these times of year to gain as much personal financial data as possible from consumers. A good place hackers to begin and a very easy way for you to lose your private data.

Avast research team recently set up some fake Wi-Fi hotspots to see how many people would connect and what kind of information they could collect. In only 7 hours, 264 people connected to the fake Wi-Fi network end generated 512,000 data packets. It’s just too easy for a hacker to have access to your data.

https://blog.avast.com/2015/12/03/6-ways-to-protect-your-credit-cards-this-holiday-shopping-season/

Make sure the shopping site is trustworthy

The above tips are mostly aimed to protect shoppers who are doing their shopping in Mall and stores. Trusting a website to make online purchases is painless and fast but more and more websites are popping up with products to sell for Christmas which are not well protected. For this reason it’s a good idea to download the free version of Avast anti-virus to take advantage of the Avast SafePrice extension which can be mounted in your browser. Avast will check the product for similar products online to serve up the best price, but more importantly Avast will also tell you whether or not the site is a known and trusted entity for protecting your information when shopping online.

Stay safe out there folks and Merry Christmas from Zombie Techs: Schaumburg’s highest rated provider of computer and cell phone repair services in Schaumburg and Hoffman Estates.

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