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Shop Safely this Holiday Season – Be Aware of the Typical Risks

It is that time of the year when most of us start gearing up for the upcoming holiday season. Planning parties and get-togethers with family and friends? Looking forward to escaping the cold and vacationing at a tropical retreat? No matter what your holidays look like, there will surely be plenty of shopping involved. Did you know that the holiday shopping season sees a huge spurt in cyber crimes and physical thefts? According to a NASDAQ report, during this time, incidents of identity theft peak and fraud rates soar 200% over the average rate. 

At Crown Information Management, we are in the business of secure information management, storage and destruction. We take it upon ourselves to protect individuals and businesses from being victims of fraud. Our records management experts constantly remind clients about staying vigilant and adopting secure protocols and practices on both, the professional and personal front. 

Don’t Let Fraudsters Dampen Your Holiday Spirit

Whether you decide to mall hop for in-store bargains, or scour online sites for the best deals, know what to look out for.

Fake Deals and Sites: Holiday shopping can often be frantic. Between time and budget constraints, and the need to fulfill most items on your holiday wish list, you may end up browsing multiple sites for comparing prices. However, don’t forget to watch out for fake retailers. If you notice a deal that is too-good-to-be-true, it probably is.

  • The URL for trusted and secure websites will typically start with ‘https’, instead of ‘http’. 
  • Take your time to scan the website name properly. Scam sites often employ abbreviated or slightly misspelt names, which give them the appearance of the authentic company or brand.
  • Avoid clicking on flash banners that advertise attractive bargains. Third-party listings may not always be trustworthy, and such banners may lure you to scam sites.

Personal Online Hygiene: Are you practicing good online hygiene techniques and following the basic rules of safe online shopping? 

  • Check for product reviews or company credentials, especially if you are purchasing that item for the first time. Many scam websites come up specifically during the holiday season to entice customers and collect payments, without actually delivering your purchase.
  • Use strong passwords while creating accounts on any retailer’s websites, especially if you are parting with your personal information and credit card details. As far as possible, try not to use the same password on different sites.
  • Avoid making payments or sharing confidential or sensitive information while using public Wi-Fi. Open or public networks are more susceptible to hacks. 
  • Don’t be in a rush to provide additional personal information if you receive emails asking you to claim an unexpected payment or delivery. Most often, these are phishing emails.

Offline Precautions: While at malls or other public shopping places: 

  • Carry your mobile phones, wallets and valuables in a secure bag, or inner pocket to protect them from pickpockets. 
  • Install advanced security features on your electronic devices, such as mobile phones and tablets. Just in case you lose them or someone steals them from you, your personal information should remain inaccessible. 
  • Avoid swiping your card on a payment processing machine that looks suspect. There could be a card skimming device attached to it.
  • Be careful while entering your PIN at checkout counters. Visual hackers are always on the prowl.
  • Make it a habit to shred any bills or store receipts that may carry your personal or financial information. You may also want to securely destroy any junk mail, holiday card envelopes and package labels, instead of simply tossing them in the recycle bin.
  • Above all, keep an eye out on your credit card and bank statements for any suspicious or unauthorized debits. 

Whether it is holiday season shopping or your day to day transactions, avoid falling prey to fraud and identity theft by storing or destroying all confidential information securely. Consider partnering with a SOC1 Level 2 Report, NAID AAA and PCI Certified company, such as Crown Information Management for protecting physical and digital information. We offer a range of services for records management and storage and document destruction for individuals and businesses.

Looking for secure storage or disposal for your paper or electronic records? Speak with the experts at Crown Information Management. Call us toll-free at 800-979-9545, or contact us online