Thieves and hackers never take a vacation, so your privacy and
personal information are always at risk. You're especially vulnerable this time
of year, though. Not only do you spend more time interacting with retailers,
but thieves are in high gear as well, hoping to take advantage of your more
active shopping habits.
There are a variety of specific threats you
need to contend with. You can mitigate a lot of risk by using common sense.
According to a survey conducted by the data risk management firm Identity Theft 911,
more than half of the respondents would provide personal information that
is not needed to complete a transaction -- like a Social Security number
-- despite being "very concerned" about the possibility of identity
theft when shopping online. So to stay safe, keep these risks in mind.
Phishing mail. Email is still a
significant concern, but hopefully one that you by now have learned to manage
and mitigate. Phishing, for example, remains a huge illicit industry; according to security vendor
Kaspersky, over 37 million people were attacked by phishing email last
year. The remedy is simple. Don't click links in emails; always navigate to
websites by typing the URL into your browser or use a stored favorite. Read more.