Cyber Safety during the Holidays

January 15, 2023

This year has already thrown a lot at us. With the holiday shopping season here, it’s always good to practice safe online browsing, so you don’t add fraud or phishing victim to this year’s list of challenges. Don’t get stuck this holiday season forced to update passwords or dispute fraudulent charges on your spending card.

Check out these tips below for safer holiday online browsing: 

Update and secure your devices

If you are doing any holiday shopping from your smart phone, make sure your phone and apps are all updated. Updated phones and apps help ensure the manufacturers are still supporting it and providing the latest security measures to check for vulnerabilities. 

Once you’ve confirmed everything is updated, take a look at your passwords and consider changing them or making them stronger. If certain apps have the ability to implement a two-factor authentication, consider using that to add an extra layer of security when logging in or purchasing.

Shop from vendors and stores you trust

It’s always important to remember that while shopping and browsing online, if it looks suspicious, it probably is. Before you provide any personal information to an online vendor, ensure they are established and reputable. If in doubt, look for the secure lock icon at the beginning of the site’s URL. This lock is known as the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), and creates a secure path for data to flow.

Some stores and retailers send promotional emails. Before clicking on any links or opening any suspicious emails, make sure you are confident of who and where they came from. This is primetime for cyber criminals to send phishing emails to entice you to click fraudulent links and open fraudulent emails.

Make safe purchases

Before you make an online purchase, check the retailer’s privacy policy to ensure you understand what information you are handing over to the retailer and how it will be used.

As you make purchases on your debit and credit cards, make sure you check the monthly statement to ensure no extra, potentially fraudulent charges have appeared. If you see charges you did not make, call your financial institution to have your card temporarily turned off while the charges are investigated.

Check this article out on Renasant Nation if you need to study up on phishing and the many ways it presents itself. Stay safe, stay vigilant, and from the Renasant family to yours, happy holidays!

Information taken from and produced by the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) All Rights Reserved, and redistributed solely for internal or noncommercial purposes; and also taken from the National Capital Region Threat Intelligence Consortium (NTIC) Cyber Threat Digest, Special Edition, November 25th, 2020.