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Tips to Stay Cyber Safe This Holiday Season

Business owner holiday shopping on computer

The season of after-holiday sales is officially here, which means your inbox has most likely already become inundated with must-have deals and offers. Online shopping has become the go-to option for many shoppers, as it provides a more stress-free and streamlined experience — and because retailers often offer great online exclusive sales.

With great deals and savings, however, comes an increased risk of email fraud and identity theft. It may be tempting to spend work hours browsing these deals and researching gift ideas, but to protect yourself, your business and your money, it’s critical to be smart with your shopping decisions.

Let’s look at some basic but helpful security reminders that you should consider not only during the holidays but year-round too.

  • Don’t online shop on your work computer. This may provide hackers with the right opportunity to access confidential work information and data. Only use your professional device for work-related tasks.
  • Use personal email addresses instead of your work email for receiving receipts, order confirmations and shipping information. The more you share your professional email address, the more risk, fraud and phishing attempts it will be exposed to.
  • Avoid checking your personal email from your work computer, even on breaks.
  • Beware of shopping-related emails you’re not expecting, such as “we have received your order,” “your order has been delayed,” “your order has shipped,” etc. Never click on links in unfamiliar emails. Go to your account outside of your email to verify order status. If the order isn’t on your radar, don’t assume your spouse or child ordered something. Double check to confirm the email’s validity before taking any actions.
  • Be cautious of links to would-be coupons. Many times, these links are designed to look legit with the intent to make you click on them, and, once clicked, they allow hackers to install spyware on your system.
  • Fraudsters love using sob stories to scam victims by tugging on their heartstrings. If an email you don’t know is encouraging you to donate or send money, don’t respond or comply. Delete the email and report it to your business’s IT or security team.

Cyberattacks continue to become more common, and this time of year creates even more opportunities for criminals to obtain your private and professional information. Don’t become their next victim. Always use sound judgement, and keep a cautious mindset when it comes to your inbox. By making safe decisions, you have the power to prevent cybercriminals from doing their job.

At Creative Planning Business Services, we help our clients keep their data safe by working with them regularly to assess and implement strong security protocols, including firewalls and other tools that protect against email fraud. Schedule a meeting with our team today to learn more about our security services and what we can do to protect your business.

This commentary is provided for general information purposes only, should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice, and does not constitute an attorney/client relationship. Past performance of any market results is no assurance of future performance. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources deemed reliable but is not guaranteed.

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