The holiday season is big business for online retailers. Deloitte estimates Americans will spend over one trillion dollars online in the buildup to Christmas. That means a huge rush to win over customers. New websites are rolled out, with massive holiday ad campaigns. But in this rush, security sometimes gets neglected. Christmas Eve and Christmas day are two of the worst days for fraud. Nasdaq reports that fraud rates skyrocket more 200% during the holiday shopping season.
Fulfilling your family’s Christmas wish list, within a reasonable budget is going to mean hopping all over the internet to hunt down the best deals. Getting a bargain DJI Spark is possible if you look around. By the time you’re finished dozens of new companies have your credit card and checking account details.
Every purchase you make online carries an associated security risk
Stories of big businesses failing to secure your personal information are an almost daily event now. We assume big business means high technology, but multi-billion dollar conglomerates have been caught using twenty-year-old Windows XP systems, without even applying security patches! Even with the most expensive security solutions, a determined hacker given enough resources will find a way to gain access to a network.
The good news is, it is possible to reduce the number of companies that will get access to your private data this year. By investing a few minutes into setting up the right services, you can drastically reduce the chances of your details falling into the wrong hands. A few dollars spent on security can make all the difference over the holidays, after all, who wants to be worrying about being a victim of fraud or identity theft while the kids are unwrapping the presents?
Five ways to significantly reduce your chances of becoming a victim of Identity theft this season
Virtual Credit Cards (Privacy.com) – Imagine if you could use a unique credit card number every time you shop online. No more worries about the credit card info being stolen because once your purchase is complete, the virtual credit card goes inactive or becomes locked to the website you used it on. Virtual credit cards are a great way to purchase monthly subscriptions because you can set the card to only work on one website. You can set a limit on how much the site is allowed to charge you each month. The process is straightforward and does not cost you anything out of pocket. It is easy to see how a virtual credit card increases your online security. You can create cards with any name, email address and billing address you want making it a great way to protect your privacy online. A few websites offer virtual credit cards, but I only use Privacy.com if you use a different site some of these features may not be possible, or the service might cost you money to use it. Make sure to ask first.
Credit Card Masking for SME’s (Spendesk) – Spendesk offers card masking, but with a focus on small businesses. Agility is essential in today’s business world. Paying multiple vendors and using analytics to understand your companies spending is Spendesk’s specialty. Spendesk can be used for thousands of purchases without ever revealing the original financial details associated with the card. Perhaps best of all you can create a virtual credit card for your assistant and have her do your holiday shopping for you then destroy the card.
Cryptocurrencies – digital currencies like Bitcoin are an increasingly common way to secure your online purchases. Bitcoin is designed as a kind of digital cash, that you can spend as quickly as dollar notes and cents, without exposing your private data. Not all online businesses accept Bitcoin yet, but many do, including 75,000 stores powered by Shopify. Exchange dollars to Bitcoin with a service like Coinbase, and then use it for your online shopping.
VPN Services (LiquidVPN) – if you are going to be out a lot and are using public WiFi hotspots then a VPN (Virtual Private Network) can be the key to saving you from identity theft. Open WiFi hotspots are a life saver until they are not. Even an ordinary online purchase made from an unfriendly or compromised WiFi hotspot can leak your payment info to a hacker and ruin your Christmas. A VPN service like LiquidVPN creates an encrypted pipeline between you and the Internet eliminating any chance of hackers getting hold of your details.
Blur – A security firm Abine produces what might be the most robust one-stop-shop online security service available. Blur protects and encrypts your passwords much like LastPass or Dashlane. You can mask your email address which is very useful when registering on new websites this holiday season. Blur’s tracker blocker can be used to stop websites from secretly collecting your data. If you are willing to pay USD 3.00 a month Blur can create virtual credit cards and can mask your phone number.
No Silver Bullet
Keep in mind that none of these tips can 100% secure your payment information, but you are much better off adding your payment information to a single site and then use it to shop with virtual cards at six websites then you are adding your real payment information to two or more websites that you rarely use. If you have any questions about LiquidVPN or VPN services, in general, contact us at https://my.liquidvpn.com/submitticket.php.
LiquidVPN is currently running its Holiday Extravaganza during November and December we slash prices to the lowest point of the year.
Enjoy the rest of 2017!