Keep your accounts secure during the fraulidays

November 26, 2021

By Mary Swiderski

Keep your accounts secure during the fraulidays

Woman Keeps Her Online Accounts Secure During the Holidays

Holidays come with various opportunities for cyber scrooges to exploit. While everyone prepares for the festivities, cybercriminals look for opportunities to scam holiday shoppers with various tricks. Hence the name fraulidays: fraud + holidays!

Here are some quick tips to keep your online accounts more secure during the holiday season:

Set up unique passwords to reduce your chance of being hacked

Every time you “reuse” a password for online shopping, email accounts, social media profiles and even medical sites, you’re increasing your personal risk. If a hacker finds out one password that you use on multiple sites, they can gain access rather quickly to all the sites that use the same login credentials.

Use a password manager to keep track of your passwords

Using unique passwords can get confusing, and sometimes it can feel impossible to remember them all yourself. Try using a password manager to take the burden off your memory and keep multiple login credentials stored safely.

Don’t link multiple accounts

Think twice before you link your social media accounts, like Facebook and Instagram, to each other. If all your accounts are linked together, you can increase a hacker’s ability to steal your information.

Use two-factor/multi-factor authentication when available

This feature makes it hard for a hacker to gain access to your accounts. Two-factor authentications are defined by needing one thing from multiple categories in order to successfully log in - so entering two different passwords would not be considered multi-factor. These are the three categories: Something you know (like a password or PIN), something you have (like a smart card), or something you are (like your fingerprint).

Go directly to the source

Be skeptical of emails or texts claiming to be from companies or charities with peculiar asks or messages. Instead of clicking on a link within the email or text message, it's best to go straight to the company's website or contact customer service.

Be generous to others but cautious of fake charities

Cyber scrooges take advantage of peoples' generosity during the holiday season. Knowing that many people enjoy making donations during this time of year, cybercriminals will likely pose as a charity online as a ploy to collect financial data and money from unsuspecting users. Be extra careful and research the charity before you provide your personal information and donation.

If something seems too good to be true, it probably is

The holidays are an easy time to scam people by creating enticing ads on social media, sending emails with amazing offers, and even texting “free gift" offers. If you see an ad or receive a suspicious email, don’t click it. If it is a vendor you are familiar with, visit the site directly to see if the deal is real.

 

Since many people do a lot of their holiday shopping online, users should also beware of shipping notification scams. Many people have fallen victim to these scams throughout the year.

 

Learn more ways to protect yourself online:


Mary Swiderski is a security analyst on the information security team. She started her career with a local real estate company within their IT department back in 2008 and has since moved into the more specialized area of governance, risk management and compliance at Alliant. At a young age, her father inspired her to never stop learning and to not be satisfied with a career she didn’t love, so she found her home in information security with Alliant in 2017.

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