Any of us can fall victim to a hack or data breach at any time of the year. But, the risk could be higher especially during the holidays. This is the time of year when all of us need to be paying closer attention to the potential of being harmed by a hack or data breach. Many of us are using debit and credit cards more frequently for online and in store purchases, as well as travel. We are also providing personal information for shipment and billing purposes, and taking advantage of reward programs. But, before you use your cards or provide personal information, you may want to think twice about how secure your information is being kept, what you can do to protect it, and how to spot a potential problem. When providing information online, make sure that the site uses a secure portal with h-t-t-p-s in the address bar, and that it is not a copycat site for a legitimate business.
Avoid using the same password for multiple sites. And, update passwords on a regular basis. If you are alerted to a hack or breach, be careful before clicking on links in an e-mail or responding to requests for personal information via phone. When in doubt, contact the business directly at a phone number that you know is legitimate, such as the number listed on the back of your credit card. If you learn that your information may have been compromised, consider taking advantage of credit monitoring, using two-factor authentication, and paying attention to any odd bills, phone calls, or other indications that that further action may be needed.