The holidays are now in full swing, and online sales are predicted to increase by 18% this year, with estimated sales at $149 billion.  Increased online activity also increases the risk for identity theft.  Last year, 43% of people that had their identity stolen said that it occurred during the holiday season.  So while you are making your purchases this year, keep in mind some basic internet safety tips.  

1. Research the security and safety of new websites/vendors. Check the news to see if they have been victims of a data breach or if their service is used to facilitate scams. 

2. Beware of the security risks associated with third-party payment systems, like Zelle

3. Password managers are a great way to randomize and store your credentials for websites.  Even if you do not use a password manager, make sure to routinely change your passwords, and don’t use a login combination that you’ve used before. 

4.  Don’t overshare information. Your personal data found online can be used to validate the answers to security challenge questions for accounts. Check out Melody’s feature on internet privacy.