The recent hacking of celebrity phone photos has shown that we’re often more exposed to privacy violations than we believe. And as we go into the most frenzied shopping season of the year, scam artists are going to be to the prowl for shoppers that are the most vulnerable. In order to avoid being a casualty, consider taking steps to maintain your private information and your accounts safe.

The cyber security firm LogRhythm points out that the incidents of hacking & identity theft goes up during the holiday season because  a lot of people tend to shop from cellular devices, which are frequently less secure than home computers and easier targets for identity thieves.

One of the most simple strategies these thieves will use is to send you an e-mail, casualty claiming to be from retailer, a financial institution or other business. The victim is then directed by the e-mail to a different website, which captures their private information. (That is one reason to avoid clicking on hyperlinks from inside e-mails, even though they seem to be from an identifiable business.) At least a few of the celeb naked pictures hack apparently came from this process.

In order to avoid that type of scam among others, here will be the most recent suggestions on the best way to keep safe while shopping online:

1. Avoid hyperlinks and attachments. LogRhythm warns since those acquaintances may be infected using a computer virus that attachments might be nefarious. Do not open the attachment in case the e-mail features short or uncommon wording. Exactly the same logic applies to hyperlinks in e-mails (or requests for advice received over text message); LogRhythm advocates first hovering on the hyperlink to ensure it is likely to direct one to a valid address.

2. Do not make purchases on public WiFi. Any public Wifi connection, including those offered at coffee shops or libraries, carry additional hazards, given that they aren’t private. LogRhythm advocates against participating in just about any monetary trades, from such hot spots, like logging in your own bank account or shopping on-line.

3. Shield your smartphone. Web browsers and retailer programs on mobile devices allow it to be simple to look on the go, since many cellphones do not have the same type of data encryption that is frequently installed on computers, but this also can expose shoppers to additional dangers. Taking a somewhat easy measure, like empowering the password lock attribute in your cellphone, will allow it to be more difficult for a burglar to gain access to private data saved in the telephone in case it is lost or stolen. Computer security firm McAfee additionally warns against downloading programs which may steal private information.

4. Do not trust your “buddies.” Hackers target social media, including Twitter and Facebook, simply because they understand it is better to get visitors to click on a link that is apparently urged from a buddy. McAfee has identified dozens of examples, including free dinner offers at fraudulent mystery shopper invitations and Cheesecake Factory. Offers that seem too good to be accurate, like iPhones that are free or free iPads, are also a bait that is common. The business warns against preventing shortened links on Twitter that claim to supply deals, and clicking on phony alarms from buddies, who might happen to be hacked themselves.

5. Open ecards with care. They’re able to even be malicious, although they could be adorable. McAfee warns that some ecards download viruses on your pc when you download them. In order to avoid that consequence, the company proposes just opening ecards from domain names which you understand as large ecard websites.

6. Upgrade your passwords. The holiday season can function as an excellent reminder to offer your passwords a makeover; security specialists recommend changing them frequently as a precaution against hackers. Avoid words that are straightforward and common, use long mixes of words that additionally include symbols or numbers, and not use duplicate passwords for multiple accounts. (Websites that offer two step authentication, like Twitter and Gmail, also can add another tier of protection.)

7. Check on an e retailer before making purchases. Some fly by night businesses benefit from the uptick in shopping throughout the holidays without mailing out the goods in return, to accumulate cash, warns the Better Business Bureau. Exactly the same is true to in person exchanges on Craigslist or another websites that are on-line. To safeguard yourself, the agency advocates paying in advance or never wiring cash, and bringing a buddy to any in person exchanges.

8. Review your statements. The very first indication of identity theft is often an unknown charge on a credit card or bank statement; contacting your bank or card provider with any concerns and reviewing those statements attentively can prevent a larceny from growing. Credit cards typically come with some measure of protection that is automatic, provided that you report the scam comparatively fast.

The real downer will be coping with a stolen identity as the Christmas season is heating up.  Consider signing up for a comprehensive credit monitoring service to help keep you alerted of any illicit activity that may occur on your accounts.  Identity theft