Tips for staying safe while you are at holiday shops, online and in stores | News

As Holiday shopping season kicks into full gear, the Sunnyside Police Department shared several tips to “help prioritize the protection of your property and yourself.”

SPD suggests parking in well-lit areas, plus having your keys ready before you get back to your car. Beware of any approaching strangers.

It also says to never leave your personal items unattended, especially including leaving valuables or new purchases in your car. If you have to leave items in the car, cover them so that your properties are not in plain view.

It’s also important to protect your pins. Make sure you cover your pin wherever you enter it and never write it down on your card or share it with anyone.

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But safety threats aren’t exclusive to shopping in-stores; you must also be safe while shopping online. The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) outlines the steps you can take to prevent becoming a cyber-crime victim as you online shop.

“Holiday shopping season is here, and while millions of Americans will be looking for the best deals the internet has to offer, cyber criminals will be hard at work looking to target online shoppers,” said CISA. “The holiday shopping season is a prime opportunity for bad actors to take advantage of unsuspecting shoppers through fake websites, malicious links, and even fake charities. Their goal is simple: get hold of your personal and financial information to compromise your data, insert malicious software, steal your identity and take your money.”

CISA outlines four steps for consumers to use for better “cyber hygiene,” protecting themselves online and becoming a less likely target. All four steps are easily accessible: keep your software updated, use strong passwords, be careful clicking suspicious links and turn on multi-factor authentication.

Check your devices before you buy anything online this shopping season. Is your password strong? Do you have multi-factor authentication turned on? Is all software up-to-date? Do you understand the privacy and security settings?

Once you’ve established these four steps and are ready to shop online, make sure you stay vigilante. Use reputable sources and verify you are on the legitimate store site before inputting your financial information. Use safe buying methods that you are familiar with, don’t put in your information before you’re sure where the money is going.

CISA also recommends checking your bank statements thoroughly during the holidays to make sure there are no fraudulent charges. It’s also preferable to use a credit card over a debit card, if possible.

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