Security and Internet Safety Tips for the Holidays
Vacations, gifts, candles, shopping. It is easy to get lost in the hustle of the holidays. Take a few extra steps so that you can keep your holiday season full of good will and cheer!
- Secure those Christmas Gifts! – Whether it is a laptop, computer, tablet, or smart phone, it is so exciting to open and play with a new toy! Take the time to download all required updates for the device. Download and install anti-virus software. For smartphones, make sure to add a password and install additional security software on your phone. Do not get on the Internet until you have sufficiently secured your new device.
- Take Care in a Crowd – The holiday season can be crowded and busy leaving you vulnerable to theft. Be extra careful if you do carry a wallet or purse. They are the prime targets of criminals in crowded areas. If you need cash, carry it in your front pocket. Stay alert and keep track of your surroundings, your purchases, and those around you.
- Be Smart When Giving – Donate money to known and reputable charities. Scammers try to profit off the giving season by using a false charity. If you are unsure of the validity of a charity, search for references on the Internet. There are many website that rate charities as well (www.charitynavigator.org.)
- Don’t Brag too much about Travel Plans on Social Media – It is so much fun to brag about an upcoming trip! However, don’t share too much information on social media sites. Criminals are becoming adept at watching social media to identify the location of potential targets. Check your privacy settings so that only close friends and family can see your updates. Check the privacy settings for your kids as well. If you want to keep your profile public, keep specific plans and location information to yourself.
- Secure your Home While Traveling – Give the appearance that there is someone at home. Install timers to light rooms in the home from 6pm to 12pm. Make arrangements for snow removal, mail and newspapers. Consider investing in camera systems that can be viewed remotely.
- Keep the Fire in the Fireplace – If you have a real Christmas tree, keep the tree watered, put in a location away from vents and heaters to prevent the tree from drying. All Christmas decorations should be nonflammable. Do not leave Christmas lights unattended. Never put wrapping paper or a dried out tree in your fireplace. Candles should have a sturdy base and be at least 12 inches from any flammable material. Consider using battery-operated flameless candles which produce the same effect as real candles.
- Shop Smart Online – Shop from known and reputable vendors. If you are getting a deal that is ‘too good to be true,’ it probably is a scam. Make sure to review the company privacy policies before entering your information. Consider using Visa or American Express gift cards when shopping online.
So there is your list .. check it twice! And make sure you are not naughty, but nice!