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It’s Black Friday and you’ve got all of your favourite deals lined up – but so do the hackers.

The sheer scale of the sales adds enormous pressure on eCommerce systems and more opportunity for breaches and hacks to happen, unnoticed.

How do you shop safely in this melee of online shopping activity?

Below is a quick guide on how to protect yourself, whilst still getting all of the good deals that you’re after.

Your Black Friday Game Plan to Minimise Identity Theft

Be Aware of the Risks

Awareness in this digital economy is essential, without it you’re a sitting duck. Imagine walking around the jungle without any awareness as to the dangers that lurked at every turn. This is no different to navigating the digital economy without any idea of the ways that your identity can be stolen.  Read on to better prepare yourself and your loved ones, to prevent the losses caused by identity theft.

1.) Know Whether Your Account Has Been Compromised

Use tools like ThisIsMe.com’s breach investigation tool and breach alerts tool to become aware of whether your account details have been breached. With this awareness you can then take the next steps to prevent identity theft resulting from a breach.

  1. Lock Up Your Identity

Your identity information is valuable – it can be used to open new lines of credit, it can apply for health insurance and can be used to make numerous types of online purchases. It’s important to keep it in a safe and secure place and to only share it when absolutely necessary, in a safe, secure way.

Change your access details and use password management and generator tools like LastPass.

Setup 2 Factor Authentication (2FA) on accounts where possible.

Make sure you keep your physical identity documents safe and only take them out when absolutely necessary.

  1. Understand Phishing Attacks and How to Avoid Them

We’ve all heard about phishing but might not necessarily understand them well enough to protect ourselves. Phishing attacks, in short, occur when a fraudster purports to be from a legitimate organisation in order to con you into transacting with them. These attacks can come in many forms, but generally occur via phone calls, emails and text messages. With Black Friday’s arrival these scam messages and phone calls are sure to be on the rise, offering ridiculously good deals to boot. Never part with your sensitive information until you are absolutely sure that the individual you’re dealing with is actually from the organisation that they’re claiming to be from. Also be sure to do the necessary background checks on the organisation in question, if you’ve never heard of, or dealt with them before. Finally, be sure that the systems being sued are safe and up to scratch.

  1. Only Use Safe, Secure Websites

Have a look up at the top left hand corner of those eCommerce stores you’re browsing – is there a little green lock sign there? If yes, proceed to checkout. If no, rather take your business elsewhere. These sites should also have a privacy statement that states where and how your data is being used and stored and should be compliant with Payment Card Industry Security Standards. Additionally, update and upgrade your antivirus software and use tools like Norton’s Safe Web when browsing the web.

Finally, do not save your payment information for future purchases, it’s not worth the risk.

  1. Use Technology Wisely

It’s okay to be a little paranoid these days, especially during the frenzy of Black Friday shopping madness. Importantly, be aware of your surroundings when browsing and and avoid shopping on public wifi networks.

Utilise easy to implement measures such as setting up passcodes on your devices, logging out of sensitive applications and turning off your wi-fi and bluetooth when not in use, while shopping.

A mistake we often make is to think that it won’t happen to us. One little slip of judgement could be the access point that a wily hacker could exploit. Being unaware of the dangers and ways to mitigate them is a surefire way of leaving yourself exposed to identity theft. Use this guide to avoid the pitfalls of Black Friday and guard yourself from sharing your Black Friday sales with a hacker.

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